Dixieland Sushi
Cara Lockwood
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Dixieland Sushi

Cara Lockwood
Downtown Press
304 pages
May 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Jen Nakamura Taylor grew up half-Japanese in the very white Southern town of Dixieland, Arkansas. Although she was a bit of an oddity (their family ate sushi when everyone else was eating barbecue), it never affected her much until she moved to Chicago and realized just how different she was from her friends and acquaintances of the past. Jen is content with her life, producing a news program and working more hours than she cares to admit. Yet when she finds out that her beautiful blonde cousin is marrying Kevin Peterson, the object of Jen's unrequited love all through school, she isn't quite sure what to think. She does know one thing--she must find a date for the wedding.

Following a series of interesting events, Jen ends up taking Nigel Riley, her best friend and confidante at work. Riley is British and has a drop-dead gorgeous live-in girlfriend who actually encourages him to go to the wedding with Jen. They begin the long trip with a disastrous car-ride and end up thinking that there may be more to their relationship than just friendship. When Kevin begins to show a bit of interest all these years later, is it just a complication or does Jen actually have her choice of men?

Dixieland Sushi is an hilarious relationship novel. Jen is a unique character, working hard to overcome her small-town past, but also not wanting to stray too far from her roots. The narrative is sprinkled with various flashbacks to the 1980s and Jen's growing-up years, the trials and tribulations of her crush on Kevin. The '80s pop culture references are both funny and nostalgic, as many chick lit readers remember this era fondly.

The development of the relationship between Riley and Jen progresses at a natural and believable pace. A rolling-on-the-floor laughing segment about their stop in Memphis and visit to Graceland will leave you breathless. Readers who enjoy chick lit will savor Dixieland Sushi because, like its main character, it offers a different take on the standard fare.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Melissa Parcel, 2005

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