Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

Title: Dollbaby
Author: Laura Lane McNeal
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: July 3, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

Ibby isn't sure what to expect when her mother takes her to New Orleans to stay with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie (who is white), and her grandmother's cook, Queenie (who is black), and Queenie's daughter, Dollbaby. It's the 1960s and Ibby has a lot to learn. This is a good coming of age story with fantastic historical detail that I really enjoyed!

One of the highlights of the book for me was really the characters. Ibby doesn't know much when she is unceremoniously deposited at her grandmother's house. She is young and ignorant of the way that the world works in a lot of way. I also loved Fannie, Queenie, and Dollbaby. They were really good characters and I loved the way that McNeal was able to bring them to life. I loved the way that their conversations were written. I thought that was really key in making them feel realistic. Even though it is really Ibby that is doing the most growing in the book, we do see each person change in their own way.

I loved the historical element of the book. 1960s New Orleans seems like a really fascinating time period to have lived in. Things were starting to change but rascism still played a prevalent role in society. This book explores some of that, which was fascinating to me. It is especially fascinating with regard to the characters in the book! You can see the city clearly through the author's descriptions!

Overall, this was a good pick!



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