Books can affect you in different ways. Some put you to sleep, some make you laugh out loud, some make you have an ah ha moment, some make you fall in love with the characters, some scare the crap out of you (thank you Stephen King) and some grab onto you and don’t let go. Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler is one of those books that makes you laugh, cry, care so much for the characters that you don’t want to see them leave, and then it grabs onto your heart, chews it up and spits it out so that you have nothing left. When I finished Calling Me Home, it took me several days to put my heart back together again. There is a revelation that totally caught me off guard and broke my heart leaving me emotionally drained.
I listened to the audio version of Calling Me Home and it was beautifully read by Bahni Turpin and Lorna Raver who bring Dorrie and Isabelle to life. I fell in love with both women. They are very interesting, independent women who both have heart ache in their lives.
Calling Me Home is about Isabelle who has asked her hairdresser to drive her from Texas to Ohio for a funeral. Isabelle is white and almost 90 while Dorrie is black and in her late 30’s to early 40’s. As they are driving to Ohio, Isabelle tells Dorrie about her past. She starts when she is 16 and first falls in love with Robert Prewitt, the black son of her family’s housekeeper. Isabelle is the daughter of the town’s white doctor and lives where blacks are not allowed alone outside at night.
The story seamlessly flows between present day through Dorrie’s eyes and the 1930’s to present day through Isabelle’s eyes. In her storytelling to Dorrie, Isabelle reveals what a strong woman she has had to be all her life. She was determined to live the life she wants with Robert despite what her family wants for her. Dorrie has her own troubles as a single Mom with a son close to graduating high school and who has a situation with his girlfriend. Dorrie is also trying to figure out her relationship with her boyfriend and whether she should take the relationship further.
Isabelle and Dorrie have a special relationship that I just loved. They are very supportive of each other and at one point Isabelle said she thinks of Dorrie as a daughter. After this statement, they become even closer.
I totally fell in love with Isabelle and Robert. The love they have for each other made me want them to succeed when society and their families are against them. It’s so hard to wrap the mind around how hard it was in the 1930’s with interracial relationships now that it’s 2015. There will people who will love this story like I did, and there will people who will have issues with the relationship between Isabelle and Robert. All I know is that I will be recommending this book to anyone who wants a recommendation because Calling Me Home now resides on my top 10 favorite books of all time.
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 1930’s 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.
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat