by Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Barbour Books Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Available for purchase
Why did you choose this book? I’m not sure how I found this, but since I have been pestering by 6th grader all summer to READ, I couldn’t pass this one up.
When did you read this book? September 2011
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy light, fun reads
Here is a synopsis of ‘Southern Fried Sushi' from Goodreads, where it rates 4.12 stars.
Ride the rollercoaster of Shiloh Jacobs’s life as her dreams derail, sending her on a downward spiral from the heights of an AP job in Tokyo to penniless in rural Virginia. Trapped in a world so foreign to her sensibilities and surrounded by a quirky group of friends, will she break through her hardened prejudices before she loses those who want to help her? Can she find the key to what changed her estranged mother’s life so powerfully before her death that she became a different woman—and can it help Shiloh too?
Shiloh is an up and coming young reporter who seems to have it all; an exciting career, a great apartment in Japan, and a gorgeous Argentinian fiancé. She also likes nice things and her spending is out of control! One day, under pressure at work, she does something terribly stupid. Within a few days, learns that her mother, from whom she has been estranged for many years, has died and she must return to a small Virginian town to settle her mother’s affairs and sell the house. Within days, her mistake at work is discovered and she loses her job, as well as her fiance!
Her mother’s house is in a very small town, Staunton (pronouned STANTON!) Virginia, Sushi is an unknown in Staunton, and they eat ‘weird’ things like collard greens! This is a real culture shock for Shiloh, who has spent time in Tokyo as well as NYC. She also has trouble with their ‘southern-speak’. And she REALLY has a problem with the Christianity that everyone wants to share with her. But she does appreciate the friendliness of the community and the fact that everyone is willing to pitch in and help.
My biggest issue with the book is Shiloh’s lack of knowledge of many things that I consider ‘regular American’. She tends to label things as southern oddities. One example: Shiloh does not know how to cook, at all, apparently. Her mother’s friend offers to teach her. They are making chicken and dumplings, pretty normal food in my opinion. But Shiloh apparently has never seen raw chicken, as she is leery and ask if it will be safe to eat. Yet she has no problem with sushi! Maybe it’s just me, but I am not from the south OR a small town, and chicken seems pretty ‘regular’ to me! But this is just one example of Shiloh’s thinking, as she labels these people as strange and backwards.
In the end, this is a story of friendship and discovery as Shiloh learns to trust and forgive, herself as well as others. I enjoyed this book very much, and am looking forward to the second book in the series, Sweet Potato Pie. But this may not be a book that most non-Christians would enjoy, as a good part of the story revolves around Shiloh ‘finding God’.
My Rating: ★★★ 3 Stars