Dollbaby

by Laura Lane McNeal
First sentence: “There are times you wish you could change things, take things back, pretend they never existed.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: One of the protagonists is a teenage girl, and there’s a lot of good historical information. There’s nothing truly objectionable, so even though this is in the Adult Fiction, I wouldn’t hesitate giving it to an avid teen reader who showed some interest.

I picked this one up because a couple of people at the bookstore have been raving about it. “It’s funny,” they said, “If you liked The Help, then you’ll love this one.”

I liked The Help well enough, and I figured it’s the South, set in New Orleans, during the whole Civil Rights movement. I like quirky characters. This one will surely be a good book.

Well… Not so much. Yes, it is set in New Orleans in 1964, when our main character, Ibby (short for Liberty) is dropped off at her grandmother’s house. Her father had recently died in a freak accident, and Ibby’s mother can’t handle being a single parent. Ibby’s grandmother, Fannie, is one of those eccentric Southern ladies, who believes in being proper and feisty and doesn’t trust anyone except her help, who are pretty much like family. (But heaven forbid if her granddaughter takes up with a colored man.)

This just didn’t do anything for me. Sure, it’s got those quirky Southern characters, but that’s about it. The plot was lacking, and I didn’t connect with the characters at all. Maybe I’ve been gone from the South for too long, but I wasn’t even entertained by the quirkiness. Or horrified by the racism. Mostly, I was just… bored.

I ended up skimming the second half of the book, just to find out what happens. Books like these make me wonder if I’ve been ruined for adult books after all.

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