Sisterchicks on the Loose

Sisterchicks on the Loose

by Robin Jones Gunn


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Sharon has lived calmly in Chinook Springs, Washington, her entire life. All that changes when her best friend of twenty years, Penny, takes an impulsive trip to seek out her only living relatives in Finland -- and brings Sharon with her. The land of reindeer and saunas holds infinite varieties of zaniness for these two unlikely friends -- Sharon is a quiet mother of four and Penny was a motorcycle mama before she came to Christ -- who return home with a new view of God, a new zest for life, and a big impact on those around them for decades to come.

Get set for adventure as the sisterchicks drive, float, or fly off to faraway places—exploring new territory and delighting in the soul ties that forever bind their hearts.

Sisterchick n.: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Meet unlikely best friends Sharon, quiet mother of four, and Penny, former flower child/motorcycle mama. Connected as young moms, their twenty-year friendship is about to take a surprising leap! Penny hatches plans for a “post-kids” trip to seek out her only living relatives—somewhere in far-off Finland.

Oh, Penny Girl, what have you done?

The land of reindeer, Finnish saunas, and starry, starry nights holds infinite promise for the free-flying sisterchicks, who feel their hearts fill with a new zest for living…and a fresh view of the One who flung the galaxies across the heavens!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590521984
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Series: Sisterchicks Series , #1
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 539,213
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Robin Jones Gunn is the award-winning, bestselling author of over fifty books, including the popular Glenbrooke series and the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series for teens. A frequent speaker at women's events, she lives with her husband, Ross, and their two teenage children near Portland, Oregon

Read an Excerpt


Kiitos Cottage
Maple Leaf Lake, Washington
October 12, 2003

When my husband, Jeff, tells this story, he says it started the day I dyed my hair green. He likes to tell how he found me on the bathroom floor with an airline ticket in one hand and a can of root beer in the other, crying my eyes out.

I prefer to start this story where it actually began—more than a decade before the green hair incident. One hot August night in 1982, my dearest friend of all time, Penny, and I were on duty in the church nursery. Seven of the sweaty children in the nursery that Sunday evening belonged to the two of us.

I was rocking my wailing daughter when Penny, in the middle of a diaper change, turned to me. “Let’s make a deal, Sharon. When they graduate, let’s go somewhere. Just the two of us.”

“Where would we go?” I asked.

“Finland!” she spouted.

I stopped and stared to see if she was serious. She was.

I suppose I should back up this story to when Penny and I first met. Penny and Dave were married and expecting their first child. That’s when they started to attend our conservative little church in Chinook Springs, Washington. They joined our home Bible study and pulled up that first night on a motorcycle, wearing matching suede jackets with fringe on the arms—but with no Bibles. Penny left her muddy boots by the front door and settled on my tattered couch as still as a tiger concealed in the brush. I’d never had such a potentially wild person in my house before.

The next week, Penny showed up with a burlap sack stuffed with freshly dug-up iris bulbs. She asked if I had a Bible she could borrow, and our friendship was off to a tender, unconventional start. That was twenty-four years ago.

Penny and I were in each other’s everyday lives while raising our children. Our husbands swapped tools and went fishing on Saturday mornings. Penny and I never had a fight.

Then Dave landed the job he always had wanted at a big computer company, and the Lane family packed up and moved to San Francisco.

I was lost.

For a month I cried when no one was looking. Our phone bill went into triple digits. Penny kept saying we would get together, just the two of us, but nothing ever worked out. My separation anxiety lasted for two embarrassing years.

This is where my husband picks up the story. Jeff says that out of the blue, Penny decided to go to Finland. He doesn’t remember the part about the church nursery where the idea was hatched more than a decade before Penny put wings to her plan. Jeff says he found me curled up against the bathroom wall, staring at the ticket and guzzling root beer.

I wasn’t guzzling root beer. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t drinking anything.

Jeff says I was sobbing because I was in shock.

I wasn’t sobbing. I was sighing really loud. There is a difference.

Jeff likes to add a punch line here about how I dramatically pulled the towel off my head and—ta-da!—my hair was green.

That part, unfortunately, is true.

For almost eleven years now I’ve listened to my dear husband’s account of the once-in-a-lifetime trip Penny and I took to Finland in February 1993. He loves to embellish, so every time he tells it, the story morphs into something that only vaguely resembles our real adventure.

Last Friday, Jeff had our new daughter-in-law in a state of stunned silence while going on about the night Penny and I accompanied two seventy-year-old women into a Finnish sauna. Jeff said we got all steamed up and then jumped in a frozen lake.

It wasn’t a lake. It was just the snow. The snow and a single star. Jeff never includes the part about the star.

I got so mad at him. As soon as everyone left, I said, “I don’t want you to tell stories about Finland anymore. You get it all wrong, and it’s not even your story. It’s my story. Penny’s and mine.”

A sly grin appeared on Jeff’s face, and I immediately knew what he was thinking. He finally had succeeded in pushing me into the corner where a pad of paper and a pen had been waiting for me for years.

So here I sit, in my corner of the world, ready to tell the story the way it really happened…about how Penny and I jumped over the moon.


January 1993

Oh,Penny Girl, what have you done? That’s what I was thinking when Jeff found me on the bathroom floor sighing. I truly thought Penny had gone too far this time.

For years the amazing Penny had blazed through life like a fearless comet in the vast summer night sky. I followed close behind as a cosmic DustBuster, content to collect her sparkling trail of wonder dust. Whenever Penny ignited a sentence with the words “what if,” she took off soaring. I found bliss in the glittering possibilities that fell over my life in those moments.

Truth be told, we rarely did any of the things Penny dreamed up for us. I didn’t think we actually would go to Finland. I thought we would talk big, buy travel guides, discuss sensible walking shoes, and in the end, cash in the tickets.

Penny, however, never doubted this adventure.

When she sent my ticket, she wrote with a thick, black marker across the front of the FedEx mailer:


Thirty-five minutes earlier I had doused my hair with a highlighting solution, and I knew I should be heading for the shower. But I went directly to the phone and dialed Penny’s real estate office in San Francisco.

“Okay, Sharon, go ahead. Now you can open it. Read the itinerary.”

The words, “San Francisco, London, and Helsinki,” tumbled from my lips.

“And?” Penny prodded. “Did you notice the name on the ticket? Sharon Andrews. That’s your ticket. We’re going to Finland!”

“Penny, this is crazy!”

“Yep! Crazy like a daisy. February 25. Pack your bags, girl! We’re finally going to run away from home!”

“But Penny… ”

“We made a deal. You promised you would go with me to Helsinki and back. Remember?”

“Yes, but we were going to go after all our kids graduated. Tyler is the only one in college. It will be, what?…Eight more years before all our kids are out of the house.”

“Exactly. And I can’t wait that long. Life is too short. We need to go now.”

I stammered and stuttered while Penny gave me instructions on obtaining a passport. By the time I hung up and dashed upstairs to the shower, the home coloring treatment had pushed my hair past summer sun highlights all the way to a disturbing autumn moss tone.

The strange part was I didn’t have the emotional reserves left to process how I felt about my hair. I wrapped myself in the comfort of my old yellow robe and sank to the bathroom floor, staring at the airline ticket and sighing over the possibilities.

I had been on an airplane only once. I know that’s unusual, but I led a small life. Jeff and I both grew up here in Chinook Springs, a quiet suburb in southern Washington State. We were high school sweethearts and married right after we graduated. Jeff and his brother ran a landscaping business. I was content to keep a tidy home for Jeff and our four kids. That was my life. It was a good life. I wasn’t the kind of person who longed to see the rest of the world—or so I thought.

When Jeff found me on the floor, the first thing he said was, “The ticket came, huh? What do you think?”

“You knew about this?”

He nodded and repressed that sly grin of his. “Dave called me a couple of days ago. He said Penny wanted to surprise you.”

Table of Contents

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Sisterchicks on the Loose 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unlike most books on tape this reading by the Author is wounderful!!! You can hear the planes take off the sauna steaming. What a great gift for anyone!
lbigcrum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I felt like I was on a fun get away with my best friend each time I stole a few minutes to read.
Ashley_22 More than 1 year ago
Meet the Sisterchicks: Quiet mother, Sharon & Former Wild child mother, Penny. These moms have been friends for 20 years & their friendship is about to take an interesting leap. Penny makes a plan for the moms to take a "post-children" trip, to Finland. But when it comes down to actually taking the trip Sharon is nervous, Finally she gains up the courage & off the Sisterchicks go on a crazy adventure. Here they meet interesting people & learn more about each other that they never knew. I really like this book, I find it hard to put down. I really like the fact that Penny's name is Penny Lane, so wherever she goes people are making Beatles jokes. I would recommend this book to any woman, any age, who has a zest for life! *I received this book free from Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my review.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nean54 More than 1 year ago
So uplifting and thought provoking! Had so much fun with their mishaps and adventures.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
Sisterchicks on the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn has got to be the worst book of 2011 for me. Yes it is "fluffy" but also just plain boring. Most of my fellow readers in "Friendship Sisters Bookclub" thought it was an "ok" story. I just did not appreciate the story and thought quite frankly that it was slow and boring.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I received this for my fortieth birthday - what a huge difference it made in my outlook! I love my fellow 'sisterchicks' and have made a huge effort to let them know! I WILL read all of these!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolute classic!!! It covers friendship in a wonderful light. It also points out God's love and the newness He gives us while making your eyes water with laughter!! Must read book for any girl and her sister chicks*
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1982 in a church nursery in Chinook Springs, Washington, best friends Penny and Sharon watch a vicious horde of children including seven that belonged to the two moms. Weary from the mental and physical stress of these youthful activists, Penny and Sharon make a deal that when their magnificent seven graduates they celebrate in Finland. However, a few years later the deal appears dead when Penny and her brood move to California.

In 1993, Penny sends Sharon a ticket that will send the dynamic duo from San Francisco to London to Helsinki. The supermoms are running away from home now that graduation has occurred. With two West Coast sisterchicklet baby boomers invading Europe, will the English and the Finns survive and will American diplomacy (Clinton style) be needed to calm the waters and snow that the daring duo dive into as they go from one brash adventure into another.

This is a fun tale that feels like Lucy and Ethel taking Europe in the 1990s, yet each one remembers why they were and still are best friends while renewing their faith in God. The key to the tale is the message that plenty of life remains to enjoy for the over forty crowd without Robin Jones Gunn preaching to the choir. Readers, especially middle age, will appreciate these super SISTERCHICKS ON THE LOOSE.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Mu daughter has grown up with Robin Jones Gunn and although I bought all the books that she has read by her through the years, I had never actually read one. My daughter who is now 22 read this book and then encouraged me to read it. I did and was delighted. I think we enjoyed this book so much because my daughter, sister and myself are so much like the sister chicks. We enjoy having an adventure and finding out what happens along the way. No matter if you are 20 or 50 - you will be encouraged and inspired by reading about these wild girls and their adventures.