Write your own review!
An impressive debut.
Calling Me Home is the first novel by American author, Julie Kibler. When eighty-nine-year-old Miss Isabelle asks her black hairdresser, Dorrie to drive her from Texas to Ohio, Dorrie realises it must be for a very good reason. Single mother of a teenaged boy and girl, Dorrie welcomes the break from her busy life and the new man on the scene who seems too good to be true. As they head toward Cincinnati, and what Dorrie gathers to be a funeral, Miss Isabelle shares memories of her life as a young woman in a very white Kentucky community. A life with a forceful mother for whom appearance was everything, a liberal-minded father too cautious to take a public stand, a pair of arrogant, racist brothers and black servants who were more family to Isabelle than her own kin. She also reveals her first love, her one true love.
My first New Year's Gift
The narrative is alternates between two time periods: the events of 1940s are told by Miss Isabelle; the present day happenings are related by Dorrie, touching on the road trip and the dramas of her own family life as well as forming a break from Miss Isabelle’s story and reflecting on that. Kibler’s novel deals with racial discrimination, segregation and intermarriage, as well as sexual discrimination. Her characters are multi-faceted and appealing and her representation of 1940’s Ohio feels authentic. Often funny, and at times, heartbreaking, this is a heart-warming story with a surprise twist near the end. An impressive debut.
I began this book two days ago and never put it down. It is a terrific read and leaves you with much to think about. That is after you put the tissues down....
Debut Novel Tackles Race Relations and Unexpected Friendships
Julie Kibler's debut novel tackles many themes common to Southern fiction: race relations; interracial marriage; family secrets; and unexpected friendship. The story is split between a present-day road trip from Arlington, Texas, to Cincinnati for 30-something Dorrie and almost-90 Isabelle, and a flashback to Isabelle's coming of age in the 1930s. Of particular interest is an explanation of the "sundown" law in Isabelle's small Kentucky town which prohibited blacks in town after dark. Interestingly, these laws were in no one limited to just the South but were found as far west as California in the 1930s. I like the way this book compared and contrasted race relations between Isabelle's "then" and Dorrie and Isabelle's "now," but - at the same time - there was something lacking for me and I never felt fully engaged. Despite this sentiment, I believe Julie Kibler is a fine writer and I look forward to reading her future books.
Beverly F. Mindlin
Calling Me Home
This book is so charming that when I finished it I wanted to read it again. It is a story of friendship and trust that develops as two women – one black and one white – take a trip of a lifetime – one into her future and one into her past. I highly recommend it.
Calling Me Home
I really enjoyed the way this story was told in alternating voices between Dorrie and Isabelle. Isabelle’s chapters are told in the first person with memories of her childhood whereas Dorrie’s chapters deal with present day occurrences.
Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)
Journey of the Heart
Calling Me Home is a novel of friendship, bonding, trust, sharing confidences, part love story, learning to let go, hope for the future and an end to the past. Julie Kibler’s debut novel, in my opinion, will become a big hit and I expect to see it on the bestseller lists within a relatively short time. Thank you, Julie for writing a story that evoked so many emotions in me and one I won’t soon forget. I’ll always carry a piece of Miss Isabelle and Dorrie with me for a long time to come.
Calling Me Home is also the perfect title for this novel and once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why. Well-done!!
I am glad that I read this book. For me, it was slow getting started, but I soon became hooked by the story of these two unlikely friends.
Mary Q. (Greeley, CO)
Calling Me Home
The relationships and memories of Miss Isabelle brought this painful period to life in a very heartfelt way.
I would definitely recommend Calling Me Home to book discussion groups.
This is a book with two distinct story lines. Its chapters flip back and forth between present time and 70 years ago, but there is no confusion or difficulty in following the time line. The entire book is engaging and very well written, and I was right there with the events occurring the whole book through. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to any of my contemporaries, as well as those younger or older. I can't wait for Julie Kibler's NEXT book!
Sarah N. (Corte Madera, CA)
Julie Kibler called me home!
Everytime I had to care for my family and set the book down, I was sad. I kept returning to the book as quickly as I could. I really liked the character development as well as the characters themselves. I was intrigued by the mystery and feeling for their dilemmas.