Thursday, November 20, 2014
Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
by Laura Lane McNeal
narrated by January Lavoy
Penguin Audio, 2014
11 hours and 12 minutes
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 Help, Dollbaby 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 an audiobook listeners will take to their hearts.
Have you ever read a novel and enjoyed the characters so much you hated to say goodbye? That's exactly how I felt about Ibby (Liberty), Fannie, Queenie, and Dollbaby. Every moment I spent with them was a treat.
Set in 1960's New Orleans, Dollbaby is brimming with southern charm and atmosphere, but also reflects the racial tension of that time period. It's a coming-of-age story filled with joy, sadness, love, self-discovery, and, of course, family secrets.
And I loved it.
Dollbaby is an impressive debut novel. I'll be reading whatever McNeal writes next.
About the audio production:
Listening to Dollbaby was a near perfect audiobook experience. January Lavoy delivers an outstanding performance and is my top narrator discovery of the year. Whether you are an audiobook evangelist or considering your first listen, Dollbaby gets my highest recommendation.
Dollbaby is my favorite audiobook fiction of 2014. Read or listen, just don't miss this one!