Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.


12-year-old Liberty Bell or Ibby as everyone calls her is sent after her father’s death to live with her grandmother Fannie in New Orleans. That Ibby had a grandmother was quite a shock to her because it has always been her and her parents. Her grandmother Fannie lives in an old house with black servants Queenie, Dollbaby, and Crow. This is the 1960’s so segregation is still a part of the everyday lives. Ibby soon realizes that the town treats the blacks way different than the whites. She also get’s to know her grandmother Fannie better. And the years go by and Ibby grows up in the house with Fannie.

As we follow Ibby from 12 till 20 years old we also follow the world around her and all the people in her lives. She grows up in a world of changes, for instance; President Johnson declares The Civil Rights Act. She also gets to know her grandmother Fannie better.

I was a bit confused until the end why the book was called Dollbaby because I thought the book was more about Ibby than Dollbaby. But in the end, everything was explained.

I love to read and watch movies about the 60’s, so much happened during the decade and this book was not an exception. It’s a coming of age story, but it’s also a story about Fannie that we through the book get to know better. And what a woman what a life, she is a real eccentric.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

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