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
Say something about yourself!
It really puts you in the Old South.
I always enjoy January Lavoy's narration.
It's relatable for anyone who has trouble with her mother.
Author DeAnn DeVille
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.
Yes, I would. It was well worth the purchase.
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.
Yes, of course I enjoyed this book. The setting was very fitting, the narrator was very fitting as well.
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.
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.
This is a powerful story, well-written. I couldn't stop listening!
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.
She's a good narrator, with a nice voice and a real talent for accents and inflections.
It touched me very deeply.
I love really really good suspense...historical fiction... "slice of life"...coming of age books...ok, anything! :)
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.
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.
Subtle differences in her pitch and accent made it easy to recognize which character was speaking. I enjoyed her narration very much.
I don't want to give anything away, but Queenie's reaction to her loss was incredibly moving.
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.
Probably not. It was a good book but not great
Probably not. It was a good book but not great.
Never did. She is a good narrator
I couldn't get past the first 45 minutes. It's full of canned personalities and paper thin plot lines lifted from better novels.
I'm not sure I trust Audible suggestions after this one.
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.
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.
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.
One of my favorites! Mystery,history,comedy, and a nice ending. Loved it. Almost as much as I love New Orleans.
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