I never select books unless I expect to really enjoy them, but I am only proven right to the extent I was with Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler in rare instances. If I could, I would give it six stars to distinguish it from many of the other five-star books I have read in the past. I literally could not put this book down after I got started reading it and ended up staying up a couple of hours late to devour it.
Both of the love stories in this book where really touching, but one expects a romantic love story to be that. The preexisting relationship between Isabelle and Dorrie that flourishes during the road trip is not extremely surprising if you read the book flap, but it is well written, sweet, and realistic none-the-less.
And while the book explores nothing really new in terms of an interracial relationship, what does go on is very heartwarming and tragic – Romeo and Juliet without the suicide. The missed opportunities in this volume really illustrate the tight-lipped ways of a forgotten generation and the horrible ways presumptions coupled with silence can alter the course of a life.
I think younger people (late teens/early 20s) in more enlightened communities might find exploring the interracial relationship and its challenges more impacting. As a 27 year-old who grew up in the deep south, I was kind of present for the cultural shift that kept *most* people from attacking those in interracial relationships, but they were never encouraged or not looked askance at where I grew up and probably still aren’t.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to explore anything mentioned above or alluded to in the book’s description.
About Calling Me Home:
[box] Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It’s a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.
Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle’s guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her. Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper–in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark.
The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle’s first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.[/box]