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Posted August 3, 2011
Read this book as soon as you can. I promise you'll thank me later.
Every once in a while-about once a year if you're really lucky-you read a novel that is written so well written and with such care that it feels like the book is not about fictional characters but about people you know. This is not only because the characterization is outstanding and believable, but also because the characters seem to have so much in common with you and the people you know. And this is the case with Janna McMahan's CALLING HOME.
At times while reading McMahan's breathtaking novel, I felt as if the author must know all of the same people I do because her characters and their experiences were that familiar to me. Reading this book was like meeting a person who has so much in common with you that you feel like you've known her all your life-you feel immediately connected.
On a personal note, I also loved the mentions of my hometown, Bowling Green, Kentucky, where McMahan's characters go when they want to hit the big city-I loved that!-and Western Kentucky University, where I teach. But even though CALLING HOME is set in Kentucky, its story is universal, and the book could have taken place anywhere from Portland, Maine to Phoenix, Arizona.
Not only did I feel connected to these characters, I also felt completely moved by their stories. The things that happen to Virginia Lemmons-a woman you both admire and want to shake at the same time (which I also love)-and her family are both believable and shocking. At times, it's hard to watch their world disintegrate, but no matter how rough it gets for them, you can't stop turning the page, craving more of their lives even when they are at their most difficult.
The story of Virginia's daughter, Shannon, is especially heartbreaking, and anyone who has been through adolescence-in other words, all of us-will relate to her struggle to assert her independence without hurting herself.
Another aspect of the book I appreciated is that not all the characters' lives are wrapped up in a neat, tidy bow at the end of the book, and their happiness is more subdued and honest than it is in lesser novels. In some ways, it's hard to read a book that gets your hopes so high for such interesting characters and then completely dashes them, but in many ways, that's what life is really like, which is another reason why this gripping novel is so lifelike.
On top of all that, McMahan gives us a turn so shocking that I still get goose bumps thinking about it. I wish I could convey to you some of my feelings when, much to my surprise, I came upon that turn, but giving you those kinds of details would be doing the book (and you, the reader) a disservice, so you'll just have to read it for yourself and find out.
Pick up this book as soon as you can. I promise you'll thank me later.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2014
I am a Sophomore in High School and my English 2 teacher loaned me the book. I have grew up in Kentucky so I can relate to this book in many ways. It makes you sit and think about life in a different way. Just a well written and well rounded book, I would recommend reading this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 13, 2008
Posted April 16, 2008
Calling Home brought me back to the small town life of my youth. I connected with the characters and related to both their triumph and desperation. I am an avid reader and I will remember this story for years to come.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
deep character study
Calling Home Janna McMahan Kensington, Feb 2008, $15.00 ISBN: 9780758221964 In Falling Rock, Kentucky, Roger Lemmons deserts his wife Virginia and their two teen children, eighteen years old Will and fourteen years old Shannon. Roger left the rural backwater town accompanied by a beautician. Although despondent even before her spouse left her, and now worried about their future, Virginia knows the way of the hills is to move on and tale care of business as she did when her dreams were violently destroyed years ago. Virginia especially sees much of her former self in spirited Shannon. She vows to insure her daughter gets out of Falling Rock by avoiding the errors she made as a teen. As Will has his own issues of abandonment by his dad and feeling like an outsider with the two females in his life, mother and daughter bond closer together with Virginia seeing her ¿escape¿ if Shannon makes it, but people have a way of repeating the most awful of truths. --- Using music to set the time as the late 1970s, readers will appreciate this strong family drama that looks deep into relationships especially between a mother and her daughter. The rotating perspective of the story line enhances the poignancy as the Lemmons face extremely difficult choices that with each step turns more complex and disturbing. Life is realistically portrayed as a bi*ch with caveat that somehow the strong thrive. Janna McMahan writes a deep character study of people facing personal problems. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2008
A nostalgic book you won't want to put down
This book touched me deeply. I was living in Kentucky during the 70's and the author's descriptions really took me back. The struggles of each character pulled on my heart strings as their emotions ran deep with good times and bad. I felt love, sadness, anger and regret along with Shannon as she comes into her own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.