Book Club: Calling Me Home

May 17, 2013 Book Review, reviews, southern fiction 6

Book Club: Calling Me HomeCalling Me Home
by Julie Kibler
Published by St. Martin's Press
On February 12th, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Pages: 338
Source: purchased
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Have I shared with you the wonderful book club I am in?  It’s small ~ we only have 6-8 members and generally only six show up; but both my girls are in it and my best friend and two other ladies who bring lots of laughter (and food) to the table!  A most glorious group of women!  And one of the inspiring things for me to see is how my daughters interact with the other women AND the particular roles they’ve taken on in the group.  For example, Gabrielle keeps us on task ensuring we discuss the book thoroughly while Erica has such an intuitive insight to add she completely awes me.  (can you tell I’m proud of my girls? or that they’re the world to me?) So April’s book was Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.  A complicated, yet tender, novel of falling in love with the “wrong” person, the trials of family, and an endearing friendship that brings it all together. Dorrie Curtis has been Miss Isabelle’s hairdresser for ten years ~ so long that the women have moved into an easy friendship.  They’ve even become so close that it’s Dorrie whom Miss Isabelle asks to accompany her to a funeral from their respective homes in Texas to Cincinnati.  Along the way, eighty-nine year old Miss Isabelle recounts the story of her first true love to her family’s black housekeeper’s son in 1940’s small-town Kentucky.  Each mile brings the women closer to Cincinnati and closer to the truth of what happened to Miss Isabelle’s love.

Some men are just plain bad news. Then there are good men.  They’ll do.  Then there are good men you love.  If you find one of the last kind, you’d better hang on to him with everything you have.  ~Miss Isabelle to Dorrie

Ahh, we discussed this one quite thoroughly beginning with a lengthy debate about young Isabelle falling in love with Robert, the housekeeper’s son ~ did we believe it was genuine or just a way Isabelle could oppose her mother and society.  This question led us into the deep topic of whether one of us has ever fallen in love with the ‘wrong’ man…..Thankfully there was wine, food and chocolate! All necessary items for deep discussions! Calling Me Home was told in the alternating voices of Miss Isabelle and Dorrie.  The author did an excellent job of distinguishing the two characters “voices.”  Personally, I enjoy novels with dual narrators, as long as there is a clear distinction as to who is who.  Julie Kibler was able to portray the racial tensions from 1930’s in a manner both dignified yet horrifying.  And on the flip side, the modern-day tensions that still linger in some minds ~ along with the idea of how far we have come in overcoming racial issues to how much further we still need to go.  Kibler tackled a mighty issue as debut novelist but, in my book club’s opinion, she’s got an equally mighty writing career ahead.  Definitely recommended for book clubs and those who enjoy characters who overcome family and society in order to survive and thrive.

the reader’s guide our book club used ~ full of great conversation starters!
Julie Kibler on the Web
Julie Kibler on Twitter

6 Responses to “Book Club: Calling Me Home”

  1. stacybuckeye

    That would be a weird conversation for me to have with my mother (even surrounded by other women). Sounds like a book group I’d like to belong to.

    • Stacy

      Aww, thanks Stacy! My girls and I have such a fun, wonderful relationship ~ I hope I never take it for granted. And with even the little I know of you from our virtual meetings, I know we’d love to have you join us! My baby girl is out of the country for the next 2 months and we’ve got an opening…..

  2. susanbright

    6-8 people is a great number when it comes to discussing a book! When our group gets too large it is more difficult to keep order! Calling me Home sounds like a good read!

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