Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler (Migrated from bookblogger)

Isabelle, an elderly white woman, has befriended her hairdresser, a younger black woman named Dorrie.  They have fallen into a comfortable routine, a weekly visit by Dorrie to Isabelle’s home, for Dorrie to fix Isabelle’s hair and truly to check in on her.  But even Dorrie is surprised when Isabelle asks Dorrie to accompany her on a mysterious journey to Isabelle’s hometown for a funeral. Dorrie embraces this opportunity to take a brief hiatus from her own family troubles, and she drops everything to help out Isabelle, Through their journey, they each share their own stories and the two come to understand each other in a deeper, almost mother/daughter way that truly tugged at my heart.

The story, almost prophetic in its timing, is about race and racism and in its tender way shows how while many things have changed over the years, many things have unfortunately remained the same in terms of black-white relations.  The women in this story defy the stereotypes and are so beautifully and realistically depicted that you can’t help falling in love with them both.  It is just remarkable to me that this is this author’s debut novel — I can’t wait to read her next!

My favorite part is the ending.  Not only is there a build up of suspense and a definite twist, but the author also finishes the novel.  All the pieces are wrapped up neatly in an incredibly satisfying, albeit sad, way.  It’s really a beautiful story.

Highly, highly recommend this book – and can’t wait to discuss it in our book club!

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