This review is long overdue! I read this book this winter while I was on vacation with the boyfriend and wrote the review soon after, I just have kept it in my drafts file for ever. Enjoy!
Calling Me Home
Oh my lord did I cry in this book. I loved the book The Help, I blew through it in probably four days, this book though just captured my heartstrings and has become one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is a story told by two main characters Isabelle and Dorrie and fluctuates between past and present day. Isabelle is an older lady who gets her hair done by an African American woman named Dorrie, and over the years they have become pretty close, both view each other as family. Surprisingly Isabelle asks Dorrie to accompany her on a multiday road trip to which Dorrie tentatively agrees, and the story of Isabelle’s past starts to unravel.
I don’t do spoilers when I want my mama or Krisha to read this book so I won’t do them here. Isabelle grew up in a time period where African American’s were free, but they were still banned from some towns and they were still used by wealthier people as housekeepers, cooks, maids and so on. Isabelle’s family was one of those wealthy families and had two housekeepers, a mother and daughter, and another person, Robert, who did errands and helped fix things around the house, which was the son and brother of the two woman. Isabelle wasn’t like the rest of her peers, she didn’t want to date a nice boy her parents fixed up her up with and she didn’t want to quit her education to start to create a home. This should come as no surprise because if she did it would be a pretty boring and fast book.
Early on in the book she is rebelling and gets into a little trouble, which could have been devastating, but luckily Robert was around to help her out and get her home without her parents knowing. Helping her out was a huge risk he took as he couldn’t be in her town past dark, yet he did it anyway which sparked Isabelle’s friendship with him. As it goes in most books, this friendship started to grow, but not without lots of complications. It wasn’t illegal for whites and blacks to date or be married, but it wasn’t accepted either, and the story unfolds around all the trials and tribulations they went through.
After each chapter it comes back to present day and just yanks you back like someone ending a story would. It worked great in that way but sometimes I found myself rushing through the present day stuff with Isabelle and Dorrie to get back to the past and the story of Isabelle and Robert. At times I actually got annoyed that I had to read through Dorrie’s side story, I didn’t really care nor did I want to waste my time on her problems, which is insensitive but the truth. All throughout the book you think you know why these two are going on a road trip and who they are going to see, yet when they finally get to the destination a slight curve is thrown. I was ok with the ending, though I would have liked more resolution and perhaps a different ending.
In the biography of the author of this book it states that this story was inspired by a true story in her family. I’m sure there are tons more like hers out there, which is just heart crushing. I can’t imagine living in an era where I was restricted by law and or by society on who I dated and who I married, yet I am. If I were to love another woman this story would mirror specifics in my actual life. It’s sad, both back then and now, that people feel they have the right to dictate others lives just because it is different from their own and what they believe is right. We live in a country that claims to be land of the free, yet some people aren’t free to have the same equalities that others do.
I couldn’t put this book down, which again pissed off the boyfriend because my nose was buried in my kindle or iphone the whole time I was reading it. I would highly recommend putting this book on your reading list, if you remotely liked The Help then you will love this one.