We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
Dollbaby: A Novel | [Laura Lane McNeal]

Dollbaby: A Novel

When Ibby Bell's father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been - and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum - is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie's black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
Regular Price:$27.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans - a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.

When Ibby Bell's father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been - and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum - is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie's black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie's own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby's arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby's hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbabyis an audiobook listeners will take to their hearts.

©2014 Laura Lane McNeal (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (115 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.3 (102 )
5 star
 (55)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.5 (103 )
5 star
 (70)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Stacy CHARLESTON, WV, United States 08-08-14
    Stacy CHARLESTON, WV, United States 08-08-14 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story"
    What made the experience of listening to Dollbaby the most enjoyable?

    Loved it.


    What other book might you compare Dollbaby to and why?

    It really puts you in the Old South.


    What does January Lavoy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I always enjoy January Lavoy's narration.


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

    It's relatable for anyone who has trouble with her mother.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie De Georgia 08-15-14
    Debbie De Georgia 08-15-14 Member Since 2013

    Author DeAnn DeVille

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fannie's dark little secret"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, I indeed would. I wasn't sure if I liked the book at first, but it grew on me and became a fantastic novel.


    Would you recommend Dollbaby to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, I would. It was well worth the purchase.


    Which character – as performed by January Lavoy – was your favorite?

    Fannie was fascinating and turned out to be one of the greatest outstanding characters. I would not have named it Doll Baby though Fannie's little dark secret fit it better . Ibby although the main character actually was a supporting character in my opinion.


    Was Dollbaby worth the listening time?

    Yes, of course I enjoyed this book. The setting was very fitting, the narrator was very fitting as well.


    Any additional comments?

    Nice novel with a surprising little secret at the end. I never would have guessed and as a writer myself it's often hard to surprise me, well done.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sudi RICHMOND, VA, United States 09-11-14
    Sudi RICHMOND, VA, United States 09-11-14 Member Since 2011

    Coffee-UFOs-Cats-Books-Halloween

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tale of Old-New Orleans Well Paced"

    First off, Doll-Baby is superbly narrated. January LaVoy masterfully adapts her reading to her characters' personalities and origins. This definitely gives the story depth and adds flesh to the bones of the individuals in the tale.

    The story itself is good… it holds your interest, but Ms. McNeal often stunts her tale by a too simplistic sentence structure, which leaves the listener hoping for slightly more depth in the thought and personalities of her characters. Ms. LaVoy helps to add gradations of personal qualities which Ms. McNeal often neglects. Hence the three stars for the story itself and the five stars given the performance.

    Some listeners may find the characters somewhat stereotyped. But in Ms. McNeal's defense, this seems to be a matter of the depths to which she wished to mine her players' inner life. Also, all of her characters are treated to the same level of development, which does give the story an even literary treatment. In other words, there isn't a lack of development in only some of the characters, there seems to be an overall reliance by Ms. McNeal to have the reader fill in the undefined gaps on all of her characters, while mainly giving a surface development to them all. That said, you do actually get enough grit in the story to get to know the players and to care what happens to them.

    If you are interested in a (non-intellectually-taxing,) solid story of a young girl's coming-of-age in unexpected circumstances, you will enjoy Doll-Baby overall, at about that four-star level.

    Just don't expect to discover the next Great American Novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Colorado Springs, Colombia 08-12-14
    Linda Colorado Springs, Colombia 08-12-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't miss this one!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a powerful story, well-written. I couldn't stop listening!


    What other book might you compare Dollbaby to and why?

    It reminds me of THE HELP and Sue Monk Kidd's THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. Totally engaging, a sense of being in the world the author portrays.


    What about January Lavoy’s performance did you like?

    She's a good narrator, with a nice voice and a real talent for accents and inflections.


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

    It touched me very deeply.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AJ United States 09-17-14
    AJ United States 09-17-14 Member Since 2012

    I love really really good suspense...historical fiction... "slice of life"...coming of age books...ok, anything! :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Want to Meet All of Them!"
    Would you listen to Dollbaby again? Why?

    Again...and again...and again! In fact, one i reached the end i wanted to start over. The characters were each so unique and the narration was perfect.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story itself. It kept giving little surprises. Like each room of the house, each chapter brought a new secret and discovery of it's own.


    What about January Lavoy’s performance did you like?

    Subtle differences in her pitch and accent made it easy to recognize which character was speaking. I enjoyed her narration very much.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I don't want to give anything away, but Queenie's reaction to her loss was incredibly moving.


    Any additional comments?

    This kind of story makes me want to write a book. It makes me want to travel back to my hometown, wander around... in... and through the little house i grew up in, and write MY story. Maybe i will.....:) Thank you Laura McNeal for a story i will never forget.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 08-21-14
    Susan 08-21-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "kept my attention"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. It was a good book but not great


    Would you recommend Dollbaby to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably not. It was a good book but not great.


    Have you listened to any of January Lavoy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Never did. She is a good narrator


    Do you think Dollbaby needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Mission Hills, KS, United States 08-14-14
    Susan Mission Hills, KS, United States 08-14-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A decent story badly told"
    What disappointed you about Dollbaby?

    I couldn't get past the first 45 minutes. It's full of canned personalities and paper thin plot lines lifted from better novels.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm not sure I trust Audible suggestions after this one.


    Would you be willing to try another one of January Lavoy’s performances?

    No. Her voice is pleasing but her style is too dramatic and commercial. I don't enjoy the baby voice treatment for the younger character. It's distracting and irritating.
    The characters of Queenie and Baby Doll are poorly written and not the narrator's fault but her reading amplifies the stereotyped dialogue.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It might appeal to a book club for ladies in the 80+ age range who want to read about New Orleans and want an easy read. It is sweet, unchallenging and predictable.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 08-08-14
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 08-08-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    488
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    184
    139
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    101
    22
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Big-Hearted Coming-of-Age Novel"

    Excellent southern coming of age story spanning the 40's through to the early 70's, though the majority of the story takes place in the 60's. A window to the history of civil rights in New Orleans. The story takes a hold of you from the beginning with rich colorful characters and holds you throughout the book. Besides numerous story lines, there are a number of little cultural awakenings and interesting tidbits of life in the past that add to this book. I most enjoyed reading about the meals of regional foods or foods that just are not made any more.

    For a first work, this is just such a pleasant read. It could have used additional editing to pull in the dangling plots to make it a more cohesive novel. I also wish there was a clear protagonist throughout. The theme of the entire household being a united front was refreshing. What a satisfying ending!

    January LaVoy narration was a perfect choice. She enhanced the work.

    I'll be watching for Laura Lane McNeal's future works.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Hollywood, Maryland, United States 08-08-14
    Debbie Hollywood, Maryland, United States 08-08-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really a good good book with great characters"

    One of my favorites! Mystery,history,comedy, and a nice ending. Loved it. Almost as much as I love New Orleans.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.