Reader reviews and comments on Calling Me Home, plus links to write your own review.

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Calling Me Home

by Julie Kibler

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

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There are currently 32 reader reviews for Calling Me Home
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Molly K. (San Jose, CA) (12/02/12)

Wishing for More....
It is difficult to criticize a story whose subject and characters are so compelling.

I found the story to be well written, if occasionally overtold and often repetitious. The random crossword puzzle injections were welcome and pleasantly distracting.

However, the story itself was predictable. Within the first few pages, I easily anticipated what would happen next, in the same way we predict the next crisis of a good soap opera. As I read, I felt I was always 2-3 chapters ahead of the writer. This story has been told many times.

This is not to say that it is not an important story. However, I learned nothing that enhanced my interest or broadened my understanding of this dreadful piece of American history.

One final thought. The writer developed her main characters in terms of black and white (no pun intended. Isabelle, Robert, and Dorrie were presented as "all good". Dorrie's mother and brothers were presented as "all bad." A story told from the viewpoint of Cora and Nell, whose lifelong struggles of allegiance to two worlds, might have been a better read.
Alice S. (East Haven, Ct) (12/01/12)

Moving Love Story
Calling Me Home, which at first I thought might be a cliched story line, at the end moved me to tears (and I don't cry easily). The back and forth of the narrative between the current time and the 30's and the circumstances and hardships of an inter- racial love were both moving and hard to forget. The characters of Dorrie and Isabelle and the close bond they had was a great example of the importance of women's friendships in each others lives even though their backgrounds may be so different. A very touching book that I will be thinking about for a while.
Helen S. (Sun City West, AZ) (11/29/12)

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) (11/27/12)

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) (11/27/12)

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.
Power Reviewer Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL) (11/26/12)

Miss Isabelle
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) (11/24/12)

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) (11/21/12)

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.

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