Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Title: Dollbaby Author: Laura Lane McNeal Publisher: Penguin, 2014 Pages: 338

From Amazon:
A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The HelpDollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.

 (Warning: This does contain spoilers.) I loved this book! I was hooked from the beginning. I was drawn to Ibby, Fannie, Quennie, and Dollbaby. McNeal paints a nostaligic portrait of 1960's New Orleans from 1964-1972. There were a couple of characters whose actions I did not understand. I don't really understand why Graham was sent to boarding school.(I know the reason, but would Fannie and Norwood really do that?) I couldn't understand why Norwood would abandon Fannie after what happened with Muddy. (Not if he loved her the way he seemed to love her.) And I can't understand Fannie's actions in the end. Even though she did suffer from mental illness, I would think her life with Ibby would keep her from doing that. That being said, I did truly love this book and could not put it down. I look forward to MnNeal's next book. In response to those reviewers who felt it was too much like The Help, Secret Life of Bees, Etc., I disagree. Although they are all southern novels that deal with racial issues, Dollbaby stands on it's own. I highly recommend this book!

Read this book if:

*you love southern fiction

*you love coming of age novels

*you love stories that take place in New Orleans

*you love stories that take place in the 1960's

No comments:

Post a Comment