Thin Mint Memories – A sweet read on a sweet topic!
I’ve enjoyed my share of Girl Scout Cookies over the years, and even sold a few Thin Mints myself when I was junior back in the 70s. Although my own Thin Mint memories are a bit faded, Shelley Johnson Carey’s Thin Mint Memories helped me relive those days… the fun we had, the girls in my troop (some I’m still in touch with), and left me wondering whatever happened to our ever-patient troop leader. But this book is much more than a stroll down memory lane.
Thin Mint Memories tells the story of Girl Scout Cookies at many different levels. The history, going back to the beginnings of scouting, the early days of cookie baking and fundraising, all the way to today, the big business that cookie sales has become. We learn about logistics behind the sales, the need for PR spin at times (the great peanut butter recall!), and we get many different perspectives: from the national down to the troop.
So many tasty details here: controversies over the different cookie names and preferences people have for different bakers. It’s all here and so fascinating! And interspersed throughout the text are those Thin Mint Memories… personal stories about what Girl Scout cookies meant to the girls who sold them.
And that’s really the heart of Thin Mint Memories… the impact of the sales on girls. There’s the fact that Girl Scouting was ahead of its time in being inclusive and supportive of girls, no matter their race or religion. I’m captivated by the idea of “Cookie College”… where the recipe for success is based on teaching the girls life skills including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. Who knew there was such a fantastic philosophy behind cookie sales?! It makes me appreciate my own cookie selling days in a whole new way. Was I really honing these skills while knocking on my neighbors’ doors? I think the answer is clearly yes!
The most vivid part of Thin Mint Memories for me is the section that follows a Maryland troop as the girls spend the cookie money they worked so hard to earn… and go on a camping trip. I really love getting to know the individual girls and their troop leader, along with some of their back stories. It’s so well-written, based on firsthand observations as Carey shadowed this troop over a period of time. I feel like I’m there with the girls, and it’s a joy to experience their energy and excitement in such intimate detail.
Another favorite vignette describes Carey’s efforts to visit the uber-guarded cookie baking facility. Requesting a tour leads nowhere, so she and her family take a road trip with the family dog, trying to scope out the secret location and finding penitentiary-worthy fences and a guard who means business… a great story told with humor and vouching for Carey’s efforts to relentlessly research all aspects of the Girl Scout cookie story and leave no stone unturned.
Loved this book… it gives me a whole new appreciation for what cookie sales mean to the girls. I will never pass another sales table outside the grocery store without purchasing some Thin Mints (or maybe Do Si Dos, or Samoas, or Trefoils)!
Writer and Librarian