Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal

TitleSaturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club
AuthorJ. Ryan Stradal
Length349 pages
Notable InformationAmazon List “Best Books of 2023 So Far
Amazon score of 4.0 with 640 ratings
Goodreads score of 3.8 with 7,175 ratings
Finished ReadingMay 5, 2023

Four generations of women work at or against the traditional Supper Club in northern Minnesota. They and their families face challenges, hardships and loss in their lives. For Betty the supper club was an avenue of escape and the chance of a new beginning. For Florence it was a place to escape from mostly because of her complex feelings toward her mother. For Mariel it was the door to a dream life – although heartbreak would follow. For Julia it was an inherited restaurant for which she had ambivalent feelings. Would she stay or make another life?

Florence was bitter about her mother’s choice to start a new life in the Minnesota woods. Eventually, but to late for herself, she understood what it meant to her Betty.

It took Florence a while to figure out why ∫Betty was like this – that it was because her mother was grateful. Everything she touched behind that bar she handled with the deliberate care of someone who’d gone without for so long, someone who never let anything go to waste.

Page 127

Florence’s heart drops when Betty suggests she start working at the Lakeside Supper Club

This is how a future gets derailed, she thought. She’d heard enough regrets in her lifetime to know that dreams don’t always die because something terrible, but more often because of something that’s merely acceptable.”

Page 107

Each family encounters the various decisions and difficulties of life which Stradal handles with tenderness and compassion without shying away from the causes and ramifications. This book would make a great summer read.

Carla and I were driving to visit friends for coffee when we heard J. Ryan Stradal being interviewed on the radio. It was a bonafide driveway moment. We stayed in the car to hear the whole interview Living (almost) my whole life within 500 miles – and most of the time within 60 miles – of the Pacific Ocean I had never heard of a supper club so I was intrigued. I bought the book that afternoon and started it immediately after finishing “Lessons in Chemistry“. I also have Strudel’s book “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” on my virtual nightstand.

At another time I might have given this four stars, but I had just come off reading “Hello Beautiful” and “Lessons in Chemistry” so the grading curve was a little on the high side.

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