BookBrowse readers consider Julie Kibler's Calling Me Home a top choice. 26 out of 27 reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars! Here is what they say about this highly regarded book:
Calling Me Home is an outstanding debut novel! Alternating between the present and 1930/40s, the author draws you into the lives and conversations between an elderly white woman and a young black hairdresser 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, and segregation are dealt with in a sensitive manner (Ariel F). This novel 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 (Loren B). It has so many layers. It's sad and touching. Keep a box of tissues handy! (Ilene R).
Many readers were moved by the way Kibler creates such a unique and strong female relationship:
The characters of Dorrie and Isabelle and the close bond they had are great examples of the importance of women's friendships, even though their backgrounds may be so different (Alice S). The car ride, to a funeral across country, brings together two unlikely traveling companions. The story the older woman shares with the younger is one for all to hear (Laura G). Friendship often does come in the most unlikely places. This couple's friendship is truly a special one that deepens as Isabelle's story is revealed (Wendy F). Everyone hopes to have at least one friend like that in his or her life (Sandy P).
Most appreciated her ability to tackle a very painful piece of American history and its continued repercussions:
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. 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 (Helen S). The relationships and memories of Miss Isabelle brought this painful period to life in a very heartfelt way (Jean N). This is a book that deserves to be read, especially with regards to U.S. history of "sundown towns" (Celia A). I found the story to be well written, if occasionally over-told and often repetitious. This is not to say that it is not an important story (Molly K). The 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 (Bobbie D).
This book is recommended for many readers:
Definitely pick up this book for your reading group, literature class, or for a great read (Amber B). I can't wait to suggest this book to my book group because there are so many issues to discuss. One can't overlook the strong message from the author that the civil rights struggle is not over (Susan J). A debut novel not to be missed, especially by those who enjoy historical fiction (Shirin M). I loved this book and would highly recommend it to book clubs and anyone looking for an un-put-downable read - fantastic! (Michelle N) I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to any of my contemporaries, as well as those younger or older (Mary Q).
This review was originally published in February 2013, and has been updated for the January 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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