I had heard people recommend Dollbaby earlier this year but I hadn't really looked into it until I was at the library and found it in the New section. I read the jacket cover and thought, hey, this is my jam, why haven't I read this yet? So I picked it up and had to renew it twice because I kept reading other things and then I sat down and started and then I blinked and hours had passed and I kicked myself for not reading it a month earlier!
Description: 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 secret.
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.
I loved the characters in this book! Well, minus Ibby's mother because, seriously WHO DOES THAT? Anyway, it's a great story. Ibby comes to live with her grandma and meets a whole new world that takes her in like family and she learns things she never knew existed. I love the back history of Fannie, Dollbaby and Queenie.
The different viewpoints of the civil rights between Dollbaby and Queenie was interesting. Dollbaby wanted to be an active part in change and Queenie wanted things to stay the same. Dollbaby's daughter inspired her to take part and yet at the same time Queenie wanted to use her as the reason for Dollbaby to not take part. If this was generational differences or just individual differences would be a good discussion.
I love books set in the 60s in the south and Dollbaby does not disappoint. I like the glimpse into New Orleans because besides Lavina I'm not sure I've read any other books set in Louisiana off the top of my head.
It's hard to really write about this without giving away the secrets that the book lets out but I did enjoy it and I'd recommend it!
Have you ever been to New Orleans? Do you have a group of people you consider family even if they are not related? Do you tend to take an active part in making a difference or do you shy away?