What do you give to the reader who doesn’t know what they like to read? Is it possible to give a book to someone who claims they don’t read? How do we know what will satisfy someone else’s reading tastes?
Welcome to the library, your free source of books and information. The friendly librarians can direct you to a wealth of subjects and authors. Every day at the library is like free sample day at Sam’s Club or Costco. There aren’t going to be sample stands at the end of every aisle of books but there will be people who are eager to point you in the right direction. Better yet; there’s no mess, no fuss, and no trash even if you don’t like something we suggest. Books not to your taste are placed back on the shelf ready for the next customer. Have no fear, there’s no commission involved so you won’t be followed around the building by an unwanted, over-eager, book-pusher. Librarians will not be upset if you don’t like what they offer; they simply ask that you give them the chance to find the right book for you.
When you consult the book experts remember this: some books do not have a long list of similar titles available. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help is one such book. Due to the many nuances of the story, it’s not easy to find another title that readily compares to it. Novels like The Color Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird, We Are All Welcome Here, or Mudbound are often cited as comparable stories but a recent book by Laura Lane McNeal, Dollbaby, has risen to the top of the suggestion pile.
This novel is about a girl named Liberty Bell (Ibby) who is unceremoniously deposited at her grandmother’s house by her mother after her father dies in a freak bicycling accident. Fannie (not to be called grandma) has a large home in New Orleans that is staffed by some delightful characters. Queenie, the cook, runs the house and takes care of Fannie with the help of her daughter, Dollbaby. When young Ibby arrives at the house in New Orleans, Queenie instructs her in the ways of living with Miss Fannie while Doll guides her behind the scenes. Though Miss Fannie is the mistress of the house, the “help” are clearly her family.
It’s a time of civil unrest and racial tension. The city is slowly and reluctantly desegregating. Meanwhile, Miss Fannie’s house and past are shrouded in mystery and tragedy. Although Queenie and her family hold these secrets close, the events of the past are inevitably revealed. Ironically, it is these very things that keep this family safe and whole. This is a wonderful story of friendship and family not to be missed. If you liked The Help, this book is for you. Come to the library and try a free sample. It’s easy-simply open the book.