BookBrowse Reviews Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Calling Me Home

by Julie Kibler

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler X
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2013, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2014, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Calling Me Home is a soaring debut interweaving the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship.

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.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Sundown Towns

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...
  • Book Jacket: Sugar Run
    Sugar Run
    by Mesha Maren
    Mesha Maren's debut novel is a plunge into the depths of the dark Southern gothic with pulsing and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Princess
    by Stephanie Marie Thornton

    Rated 4.9 stars by BookBrowse members - one of the highest scores of all time!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.