This month’s book is called “Calling me Home” and is by Julie Kibler. This was a random choice for me as I was browsing Goodreads trying to find an interesting book to read. I do not regret reading it, because it made me think about racism and discriminations a whole lot more and even though it is just a novel, it doesn’t mean that these stuff did not happen in the past, which is what made me really sad whilst reading this book.
Summary: Shalerville, Kentucky, 1939. A world were black maids and handymen are trusted to raise white children and tend to white houses, but from which they are banished after dark.
Sixteen year old Isabelle McAllister, born into wealth and privilege, finds her order life upside down when she becomes attracted to Robert, the ambitious black son of her family’s housekeeper. Before long Isabelle and Robert are crossing extraordinary, dangerous boundaries and falling deeply in love.
Many years later, eighty nine year old Isabel will travel from her home in Arlington, Texas, to Ohio for a funeral. With Isabelle is her hairstylist and friend, Dorrie Curtis – a black single mother with her own problems. Along the way, Isabelle will finally reveal to Dorrie the truth of her painful past: a tale of forbidden love, the consequences of which will resound for decades…
Lies/Disleikes (may contain spoilers): Many aspects of Julie Kibler’s writing draw me to this book. What amazed me the most is that it could have a been a real story as I read in the author’s note, before starting reading the actuall book.
Author’s note: “Julie Kibler began writing Calling me Home after slearning a bit of a family lore: as a young woman, her grandmother fell in love with a young black man in an era and locale that made the relationship impossible “. It really touched me, thinking that her grandmother and her lover could never be together just because of some stupid prejudices and discriminations.
Back to the book, Kibler did a very good job at telling their story, as her writing entwined humour and heartbreak altogether. She handled storytelling exceptionally, if you consider that this is her debut novel and kept me going, because she had one chapter dedicated to the present and one chapter dedicated to Isabelle’s past, and they kept going back and forth, until we reached the end of the story.
I found that very clever and it kept the reader’s attention to the end!
As I said previously, I pretty much liked this book and I will be recommending it to my friends for sure. If you think about it clearly, this book is not about only one story, there are multiple little ones that add up to our final one.It explores the lifes of Isabelle and Robert, but also we get a glimpse of Dorrie’s life too and of Isabelle and Robert’s different families. The contrast is inevitable, thinking how white people lived in 1940s and how different daily life was fot black people. It was maddening to think about it, that people could treat so badly other human beings!!
Isabelle and Robert’s romance was so pure and thei were so affectionate to each other that it could only break your heart when they were seperated. Unfortunately their love simply was not meant to be, as you can understand even from the summary of the book, but I had hope for them to the last minute.
My least favourite character of the whole book, is Isabelle’s mother! I hated her with all my heart the way she treated Isabelle, her brothers and the maids was the worst. Some of you (if you read the book) may excuse her actions, but I will not do it, just because I believe that a mother should love her child no matter what and never put herself first.
Lastly, I really enjoyed reading about Isabelle and I realised that she hadn’t change much, because her 89-year-old self resembled a lot her younger one. It was very interesting reading about the same person on two so different ages, something I had not read in the past, and I really liked it!
Thank you so much for reading today’s post and I hope that if you read this book you will have food for thought, regarding racism matters.
“It ain’t about black or white, cause we are all human”.
(I do not claim the photos or the rights of the book mine)