Calling Me Home
[a Novel]Book - 2013
In Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive Isabelle from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.
Curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, she agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son's irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.
Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply 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 makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
"When I met Miss Isabelle, she acted more like Miss Miserabelle, and that's a fact. But I didn't think she was a racist. God's honest truth, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I may look young, thank you very much, but I've had this gig awhile. I knew almost right away Miss Isabelle carried troubles more significant than worrying about the color of my skin. As pretty as she was for an eighty-year-old woman, there was something dark below her surface, and it kept her from being soft. But I was never one to press for all the details--could be that was part of the beauty of the thing. I've learned that people talk when they're ready."-Dorrie, Present Day; excerpt "Calling Me Home"
"Isabelle. What happened tonight? It can't ever be more than that--a nice memory. For the both of us. You know it. Anyone ever finds out I kissed you, you know what they will do to me? What your momma will do to you? It's impossible."-Robert
"Robert was right. Marriage between Negroes and whites was not only taboo but also illegal. What good was our love if consecration in the eyes of God and the law was forbidden?"-Isabelle, 1939; excerpt "Calling Me Home"
SummaryAdd a Summary
Calling Me Home, a debut novel by Julie Kibler, is a heart-wrenching story of forbidden love and loss. Isabelle McAllister is pushing 90 and needs to travel from Texas to Cincinnati for a funeral so she asks her hairdresser who has befriended her over the past 10 years to drive her there. Dorrie is a black single mother who is struggling with her current relationship and other parenting issues, but she thinks so highly of Isabelle that she agrees. The road trip allows plenty of time for Isabelle to share stories about her first love, Robert, a young black man whose family worked for hers. The story is beautifully written and intersperses stories from Isabelle’s youth with what they are experiencing on the road and problems Dorrie is facing in her current relationships. A phenomenal book that fans of The Help would enjoy.
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