Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a big favor to ask her hairdresser, Dorrie. She wants the black single mother to drop everything and drive her from Texas to a funeral in Ohio - tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious about Isabelle’s past, agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Isabelle confesses that, as a teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell 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 just might help Dorrie find her own way.
©2013 Julie Kibler (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc
I really enjoyed this book. The characters had depth and breadth and personalities that are complex and interesting. The readers did a really good job with all of the characters so that I could follow without difficulty. The transitions were seamless and their voices were distinctive and "real" enough that you forgot they were "characters." The story is very sad, but told with rich humor and much "humanity." These are real people.
For about the first third of the book I wasn't sure if I would finish it (see next paragraph), but once the characters were more developed and the storyline hummed along, I began to enjoy it better, and the last third made it nearly impossible to stop reading/listening. The ending is surprising and and satisfying, and I felt the experiences of these two ladies strengthened me in facing my own trials and troubles.
As for the narrators' performances, after the first third of the book, I realized I was having a hard time staying interested in the story because the speech was so "southern drawl" slow. Bumping up my play speed to 1.5 helped a great deal! They portrayed the characters perfectly, especially "Dorrie" with her humor and wit; it was just a little slow for my taste.
I don't know how this book fell under the category of historical fiction instead of maybe imaginative romance, and not even a good one at that. The whiny tone of the book would make it a chick-lit at best, and the raving reviews are still a wonder to me. It is more a less an emotional blackmail.
The book reinforces stereotypes, the characters are on the verge of absurd, and the two narrative don't work well together. Dorrie's story is all over the place and overall unnecessary. Robert and Isabelle are trying to be painted as too perfect, they are far from being human, even though their judgement is worth serious criticism (why would they be stupid enough to get married while she is a minor, it is pretty clear that it is not a smart move). Isabelle's behavior throughout the book, and her most critical life decisions are hasty and childish, which is quite annoying after a while, since it happens again and again (and again).
Dorrie is in this story just to listen to Isabelle and to absorb her life experience to reflect on her own stereotypical story (her black son that stole from her, wonder why the author chose that). So of course she wonders if she should turn around her life before it's too late, to get a happily ever after for herself. Dorrie herself is in her forties and is not exactly mature, avoiding phone calls from her boyfriend as a strategy.
A cheap unconvincing soap-opera, a young black boy and a young white girl in the pre-civil rights era. Ridiculous.
HR professional, educator, mother, grandmother
One of the best Audible books I've 'read.' Tightly wound story with new 'clues' just around the next chapter. Skillful narrators (LIVE Bahni Turpin's books). Perhaps this book is better suited to a female audience.
tender and sweet. I gave it 5 stars not because it was profoundly written, not because each line was lyrical, but because I just couldn't stop listening. Perhaps. the story line is a bit predictable, perhaps it's a story that's been written before, but it was lovely. it jerked at my heart in sweet and simple ways. Its a story that needs to be told over and over and over until the hearts of all people are open to all of our beautiful diversity. Its a story of tearing down walls from a very old time. Tender and sweet. I'm sure I will listen to this book again.
It's been a very long time since I cried reading or listening to a book. This one got to me many times. An amazing, lovely story. So relevant even in the 21st century. We've come a long way, but still have so much farther to go.
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