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Calling Me Home: A Novel | [Julie Kibler]

Calling Me Home: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (657 )
5 star
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4.3 (582 )
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Story
4.5 (579 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alexandria New York 12-13-13
    Alexandria New York 12-13-13 Member Since 2012

    Alexandria

    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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    "I really wanted to like it"

    I really wanted to like this book for two reasons: 1. Bahni Turpin, 2. The reader reviews were so overwhelmingly positive that it seemed I couldn't possibly go wrong picking this book as my next listen. Wrong I went.

    This is a book which reinforces stereotypes, simplifies complexities, and doesn't attempt to ask or raise a single question. The characters and plot are so absurd that it can't even count as entertaining. This book was not worth of such amazing narrations from these two fine women.

    The story is simplistic, the characters are flat. The narration of Isabelle is done in the past tense, while Dorrie's is in the present. Near the end, their stories clumsily converge.

    Isabelle is viewed by everyone in her life as perfect. Dorrie listens to her sad and depressing story for days on the way to a funeral, never once criticizing Miss Isabelle for a single thing. In fact, she holds her on a pedestal as the utmost example of a human being. This contrasts with the actual portrayal of Isabelle, which proves her to be an irritating, selfish, and implausibly naive girl and then woman.

    Dorrie's story, on the other hand, seems random and at odds with the major plot (Isabelle's story). It is also disturbingly reflective of negative stereotypes. Mostly, it seemed that Dorrie was only put into the story in order to praise Miss Isabelle and try to convince the reader of her goodness, and to revise her own life after having Miss Isabelle's bright white light shown upon her. Ick.

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael PASADENA, CA, United States 07-25-13
    Michael PASADENA, CA, United States 07-25-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful book - great writing - excellent ending"

    This is a well written book. The performance by the readers was excellent. This was a challenge because each reader had to read some dialog by the other character and come close to matching the voice so it is not jarring when the next chapter starts read by the other character. The ending was excellent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 03-07-13
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 03-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beuatiful, heartbreaking story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Calling Me Home to be better than the print version?

    Quite likely. The choice in Lorna Raver and Banhi Turpin as narrators was a good one... voices nearly pitch-perfect, though Lorna Raver's voice could get a little over-dramatic, and Bahni Turpin uncharacteristically read a couple passages with less inflection that called for. These instances were rare, and it was an enjoyable read


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Calling Me Home?

    When Dorie found out who broke into her office and why... the anger came right through.

    And the heartbreak of Isabel losing Robert


    Which character – as performed by Bahni Turpin and Lorna Raver – was your favorite?

    Both Dorie and Isabel. They obviously took center stage, and some of the other characters weren't as flushed out... but they were great!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both, in parts... the scene with the hotel night manager made me laugh out loud


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, depicting the complex race relations that are still ongoing today. Tackling it both from a white and African-American perspective - peeling back the layers of prejudice on both sides - was well done.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue 02-02-14
    RueRue 02-02-14

    RueRue

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dissenting opinion"
    What disappointed you about Calling Me Home?

    Unoriginal story, stereotyped characters, and really irritating narration by Lorna Raver


    What was most disappointing about Julie Kibler’s story?

    There was NOTHING original in this story. The author took elements of "The Help" and mixed in "Driving Miss Daisy". I am dumbfounded by all the glowing reviews


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I found her voice too slow and, when Izzy was narrating as her younger self, her voice should have changed to reflect this.


    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Topeka, KS, United States 02-27-13
    Donna Topeka, KS, United States 02-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great listen."
    Would you listen to Calling Me Home again? Why?

    Yes, it was a suspenseful tale of heartache and loss.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Calling Me Home?

    The comparisons of Dorrie's and Isable's lives even when they were so different.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 05-18-14
    Victoria 05-18-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Book!"

    I purchased this book because I so enjoyed Bahni Turpin's narration in The Help. I am so glad that I did! I absolutely loved the book. It's an incredible story of one woman's past and another's present. The story and the narration are wonderful. I only wish Ms. Kibler had other works on Audible. I'd buy them in a heartbeat.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 01-19-14
    Anne 01-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sad, funny, thoughthful read"

    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.

    Highly recommend.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 08-28-15
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 08-28-15 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History, Mystery, Black and White"

    Young Isabelle McCallister didn't set out to fall in love with the son of her family's housekeeper in 1930s Kentucky . . . after all, the girl had grown up with Robert, played with him and his sister . . . studied along side him as her father, the town's physician, taught Robert from textbooks that the "colored school" didn't have access to . . . what she saw in Robert went much deeper than the color of his skin . . . the story is about young Isabelle and old Isabelle, now almost 90 years old, and traveling from Texas, back to Cincinnati (just over the river from Kentucky) for a funeral . . . driven by her good friend, Dorrie (a forty-something, black woman) . . . her hair dresser of many years . . . really her best friend and confidant . . . her only friend now. And the long journey by car begins the telling of a lifetime of joy, pain, prejudice and healing that changes both women . . . I appreciated very much the examination of long held ideas from both perspectives . . . black and white . . . that have been ingrained into people and society, which Dorrie and Isabelle encountered and fought back personally. Because until we, as individuals, do exactly what these two women did, deal with one another honestly, up front and personal, confronting our own feelings and long held . . . wrong held . . . anger and blame . . . our society cannot change. This isn't an activist story . . . it's a story of love . . . which is the only way wrongs can ever be righted. I had no idea, when the audio book began (it started a little slow) how it would grow on me,and wrap itself around me. It's no simple story, no simple answers. And until you reach the end, you will not know the full story of Ms. Isabelle McCallister . . . well done, Julie Kibler, well done . . .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina6marie 08-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Hope they make a movie!!"

    A little slow moving at first but I spent many nights up far too long just to get a little more. Funny, sad and touching all rolled into one! Both main characters brought something unique to the story. This is one I will listen to again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Cooper 08-12-15
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    "WORDS cannot describe!"

    I have a lump in my throat from this book on tape. The story makes you want to keep listening all day and night, LITERALLY!!!
    The readers of this book made me feel like they were sitting on my sofa talking to me. I thought Miya Angelou's biography and Witney Houston's mother reading her book were my two most favorite books on tape. Calling me home is right up there, perhaps in the lead now. I suggest this book for a road trip because you won't want to turn it off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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