Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: Calling Me Home

Now that I have a full-time, grown up job and am planning a wedding in my off time, I really haven't had too much time to read. Since I was a kid, I've always been a complete bookworm. It's a way to escape and a way to travel to a different place and a different time.

I've been updating my Goodreads account with some summer reading and just crossed the first one off my list. I came across this title from Jen Lancaster's annual summer reading list. Jen always has the best recommendations. I bought this book on my Kindle with the intention of holding off reading it until my flight home in a few days. Yeah...that didn't happen. It took me less than 24 hours to finish this, reading it at the gym and in the car (don't worry, I wasn't driving.)

Calling Me Home is the story of Isabelle, a young white girl growing up in a sundown town in 1939. She's the white daughter of the town's doctor who falls in love with her black maid's son, Robert. The book goes back and forth between current day and the past, giving you a little bit of the past and relating it back to current day.

I don't say this lightly (my mom's an English teacher, I used to work in a library and hope to again) but this is one of the BEST books I have ever read. I was slightly torn on whether or not to read this as I cannot stand stories that do not have happy endings and I knew there was no way this story could end happily. But I was so glad I read this. This was one of the most haunting books I have ever read. It is written in a way that makes you feel as if you were Isabelle and know the risks involved with falling in love with this man. 

I was actually very happy with how the book ended. I think the author, Julie Kibler, gave it the happiest ending that was possible without making it seem far-fetched. I couldn't believe this was her debut novel, it was written so well.

This book evoked very powerful emotions, forcing me to think about my own parents' marriage. My white mom married my Mexican dad at a time where it wasn't illegal, but it was still very, very rare. Even then there were risks involved. When my dad was a child, he had to sit in a separate area of the movie theatre. While life was much better for minorities at that time, it still wasn't perfect. It was better for me growing up, but it still wasn't perfect. 

This book made me proud of being mixed...something I've struggled with. Thank you to Julie Kibler for writing this.

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