Helen S. (Sun City West, AZ)
A Journey to Understanding
Julie Kibler has successfully tackled the difficult issue of racial equality in her fascinating debut novel told in the first person by Miss Isabelle and Dorrie on their journey from Texas to Ohio. The long car trip gave the women the time and opportunity to divulge their life stories in a believable way; however, the ultimate purpose of the trip came as a surprise to me. As a reader who had lived in the South before desegregation, I could empathize with the societal restraints and pressures Miss Isabelle wrestled with throughout her life.
The engaging style of the author kept me reading as I discovered more and more of the intimate secrets as the women revealed them to each other. When the book ended, I realized that the lives of Miss Isabelle and Dorrie were much more alike than their ages, skin color, and circumstances might have suggested. I highly recommend Calling Me Home to readers interested in a story filled with love, mystery, life-changing secrets, and the consequences of racial inequality.
Ariel F. (Madison, WI)
An unlikely friendship -- Miss Isabell and Dorrie!
This is an outstanding debut novel!
Alternating between the present and 1930/40's, the author draws you into the lives and conversations between an elderly white woman and a young black hair dresser as they drive from Texas to Ohio. Both women have secrets that they have guarded but end up sharing with each other. In reading the novel, issues such as race,love,family, segregation are dealt with in a sensitive manner.
If you liked The Help or The Kitchen House, you will enjoy this well written and researched novel.
This is an ideal book for a book club to read.
I am waiting on Kibler's next novel.
Margaret L. (Petoskey, MI)
Great Debut Novel
Calling Me Home is a touching story about a man and a woman who come from different life styles but are joined together by love. It is also a story of two women who develop a strong friendship and a deep respect for each other on a road trip from Texas to Ohio. The story touches on many emotions. I laughed, I cried, I became angry and in the end, I felt a deep appreciation for the diverse people in my life.
A great debut novel by wonderful storyteller, Julie Kibler. I will be watching for her next book.
Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL)
In Shalerville, Kentucky in the 1920's, slaves were free but segregation remained. The sign at the beginning of town said, "Nigger, Don't Let the Sun Set on you here in Shalerville".
Isabelle began a friendship with the black son of the family housekeeper as a young girl and it grew. Decades later Isabelle, now 90 years old, asks her young black friend and beautician Dorrie to drive her to a funeral in Cincinnatti. On this drive, through chapters by Isabelle and Dorrie, past and present, we learn of the history of the women and how their friendship affects them. Along the way, Isabelle, with some help by Dorrie do crossword puzzles with answers such as pensive and exquisite that become part of the story.
Their conversations and the people they encounter along the way are brilliantly written and brought me to tears before the end. Racism is a terrible thing and the author brings it to our attention so well.
Ilene R. (Northfield, IL)
A moving road trip of discovery...
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down. It alternates between present day and the late 1930's and 1940's. It's the story of Isabelle and Dorrie. It's about family, race relations and most of all love. The two women, from different backgrounds, have lessons to learn and to share. This book has so many layers. It's sad and touching. Keep a box of tissues handy!!!
Loren B. (Appleton, WI)
beautiful and bittersweet
On the surface this novel could remind one of a Romeo and Juliet story, but underneath it is so much more. It makes a person question why we have our prejudices when underneath we are all just human beings with the need for friendship,love and acceptance.