January 10, 2012
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
In the 1930's in Kansas, a group of women get together for a quilting and literature club every week. They call themselves the Persian Pickles (named after a paisley print) and in the depression its a good way to add some fun to their life. But then, the body of one of their member's husband is found. The newest member of the club, Rita, who's really not much of a sewer wants to be a newsreporter and so sets about trying to solve the mystery of who murdered the man. Queenie, the narrator, tags along with her for the ride.
Queenie was kind of a naive narrator. She was married and younger than I am now, but she still seemed as if she should be in her early teens with some of her actions and mannerisms. She was nice enough, just not a very strong character. The other women in the club all had distinct personalities but I couldn't really connect with any of them and they all seemed to have only one or two traits that made them different and that's what the author focused on, instead of making the character a whole person. Even Queenie's husband, who should have been enjoyable, I couldn't connect to. I do think that there were so many characters that it muddled everything and the book might have benefited from cutting a few out.
While its supposed to be about friendship, there is an element of mystery to this book. You want to know who killed the guy and actually wait for Rita to find out who did it. The rest of the story flits in and out and doesn't really follow a particular rhyme or reason. For being about a quilting club there's not a ton of quilting or quilt meetings in this book which did disappoint me a little bit. And for being a light read there is some violence and other strong themes within. Because of the 1930's setting there are also some expressions used to denote race that aren't as kind as well and allusions to illegal abortion. I did enjoy the predominant theme of loyalty and goodness in this book and the "character" behind some of the characters actions.
I just didn't get engrossed in this book and merely thought it ok. I was looking for something a little warmer and this book was just lukewarm and kind of stale to me.
The Persian Pickle Club