May 21, 2015

May - Calling Me Home

The blogging world made us do it. We read Julie Kibler's Calling Me Home entirely based on recommendations and praise for this one from book bloggers. So many of them said they cried. Most of them loved it. The Bookworms not so much.

Calling Me Home actually did make a good choice for a book club selection - there were a lot of things to talk about including the structure of the book and the writing in addition to the themes Kibler presented. While there were those that really enjoyed the book (and did cry) there were others that had major issues with it. Diana, in particular, couldn't get past how derivative of The Scarlet Letter it was.

By and large, we felt that the story was imbalanced, with Isabel's story and her character much more interesting. Lisa S suggested that the story would have been more interesting if the two different points of view had been Robert's and Isabel's and Ann suggested Nell's point of view instead of Dorrie's. Diana felt that Dorrie was just not interesting and that her love story felt flat, with Teague just too good to be true. We agreed that her storyline would have been more interesting if the focus had been on her relationship with her customers; Kibler even talks about Dorrie being something of an amateur psychologist for the ladies who come to her. In fact, we thought there might be a separate book there.

Lisa S felt that the dual narrative with one storyline set in the past and one set in the present has gotten old and might often be used by authors who can't figure out a better way to work into the story they want to tell. We understand why Kibler chose the two time periods as she worked to explore the different attitudes toward unmarried pregnancy and race relations; most of us just didn't feel like it was the best choice.

Still - most of us (except maybe Linda!) found something to like about the book and Lisa W said it was nice to read something that wasn't as heavy after the past two months.

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