Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

image     Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This story is set in New Orleans, near the french quarter in 1960 and spans over the course of 12 years. Ibby’s father has just tragically passed away and 11 year-old Ibby is being thrust into a new state and the new home of her grandmother Frannie’s, whom she didn’t even know existed until a few days before her father passed away. Ibby’s mom says she just needs time away and although she’s never said a nice word about Frannie, she leaves Ibby to stay with her. Ibby is terrified and immediately receives a culture shock. She’s never talked to a colored person and Frannie’s housekeepers are mom and daughter, Queenie and Dollbaby. They are out-spoken and kind, and they have their hands filled with keeping Frannie in a right state. They run over the rules with Ibby, explaining that Frannie is a unique woman and you should never ask her about her past or she’s liable to go into a frantic state. Ibby soon learns that Frannie has bouts of where she needs to “go away for a while to rest” at a local mental institution and Queenie and Doll just explain that sometimes the sadness gets too much for dear Fannie. Ibby meets and befriends Doll’s young daughter Birdelia, and Dollbaby, Queenie, and Frannie all make Ibby feel comfortable at home. Slowly but surely Ibby discovers that there are many secrets among the women of the household and that not everything is exactly as it seems. Ibby learns that family comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and that you can’t prevent things from happening but you learn to roll with the punches. The ending was awesome. The story was just beautiful and I finished it with a full understanding of where everyone was coming from.

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2 thoughts on “Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

  1. So good to hear that you enjoyed it! I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for a while, and I was wondering if it was as good as it sounded. I’ll definitely have to read it then. Great review! 🙂

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