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Calling Home

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  368 ratings  ·  45 reviews
From an extraordinary new voice in fiction comes a haunting, powerful novel about mothers and daughters, choice and regret, the mistakes we make and the ones we hope we can correct before it's too late.

Nothing much ever happens in Falling Rock, Kentucky. So when Virginia Lemmons' husband takes off in his Trans Am to take up with a beautician, there's not much to do but w

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Kensington Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,037)
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This book contains some of the most vividly-drawn real characters I've ever seen in fiction, small-town working-class factory laborers and farmers in 1980 small town Kentucky, too injured by the hard knocks of life to love without barbed wire fences built around their hearts and souls but nevertheless trying to do the best they can in spite of the damage. These are people with few resources beyond their own grit, for whom there are no magic rescues and every misstep in life seems to land them on ...more
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 nove
I recommend this book as a beach read. It is gotta be warm somewhere right?
I'm surprised people didn't like the ending, since I thought that that was the only part that felt natural, not forced or clichéd. It was sappy, I suppose, and more than a little trite, but a fine ending overall.

It was the rest of the story that I had a problem with. Right from the beginning the story was obvious and laid out for all to see. You knew exactly what was going to happen, because those things are exactly what happens to the people described. (view spoiler)
Aug 14, 2008 Molly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my local friends
First of all, I have to admit that my reasons for choosing this book are VERY lame.

1) this chick and I have the same last name.
2) she is from Kentucky
3) the book takes place here...

Late '70's rural Kentucky. There were many parts of this book that were not so different from my own growing up here in the late 80's alot can change in 10 years...alot stays the same.

It was a nice easy read-nothing to deep to think about, probably great for sitting on the beach. I tend to be really hard on authors/bo
Shannon is a teenager growing up in the small town of Falling Rock, Kentucky in the early 1980s. Her father has just left her mother to take up with the town’s beautician and her older brother Will is about to go away to college. Shannon is determined that she is not going to be stuck in the dead-end town after high school, working in the underwear factory like her mother.

This book was definitely not a “feel-good” book – the mood was melancholy throughout and the characters, especially Shannon,
I know some have said they didn't like the ending - I liked it a lot. I thought it was far more believable than the alternative, really. And throughout the book, I kept thinking about Shannon - she wants out of this town, she wants to get a scholarship, go to college - and yet she keeps making all these really bad choices like doing drugs, drinking and driving and generally being reckless. But then I thought - of course she does, she's a teenager, and teenagers can't see consequences more than 1 ...more
"This author's writing is very easy to read. I lived in a small TN town for high school, during the same time period. I guess the nicest thing that I can say is that I feel sorry for the author that she perceived her world as such. If you see men as uncontrollable animals and women as desperate without options, then this is the book for you.
As the mother to six sons, I felt so sorry for the teenage boys in this book and really disliked the daughter as much as the mom, by the end of the book. We
Jun 03, 2014 Sandra added it
A Good Read

The characters were well drawn, but the plot was a little predictable. The characters were very relatable and the dialogue was strong.
I was hoping to review this one in my column this month, but alas, a few too many words and sticky situations. I will probably finish it before The Godmother though! Interesting sibling friendship & difficult family relationships. Set in rural KY. The author already has me twanging in my head! Great writing, but an annoying voice to have to read with!!!

Finished it, good story about people trying to do the right thing and failing as often as they succeed. And just as often they don't try at
I loved it. It definitely kept me interested to the last page. I had read some of the other reviews & I was intrigued by the reviews that said there were some interesting twists & a great twist at the end. Well, I don't agree with those because there wasn't any great twist at the end. But anyway ... even with me being from Oklahoma, and the book being set in Kentucky, I could identify with so many of the descriptions in the book - the descriptions of the family Thanksgiving, life on the ...more
I read this book in July of 2010, but can't remember anything about it. Perhaps I should re-read!
Another book I read. I better stick to new releases...
Julia DelSignore Peoples
I thought this book was going to be your typical girl trying so hard not to do what her mother did and get out of her little town that she ends up exactly where her mother was. There was some of that, but there is so much more. This book is about holding on too tightly to the ones you love and never explaining why. This is about grief and and loss and keeping it all inside. This book is about love and redemption. This book is about being who you are, no matter the cost. It's a must read.
A great story of the ways our lives can change in an instant because of the decisions others make. The theme of redemption played nicely into the ending and brought the main characters full circle. I would have been a couple of years behind the main character in high school, so it was fun to read from this time period. I was surprised by how much I take for granted in the areas of gender equality, since I wasn't so far removed in age or region from the main character.
Adele Clagett
I enjoyed this book - it was a simple story about a typical family in the 1980's. They certainly had their up's and down's - real life. I would have thought I'd get bored but instead I found I was interested page after page. The saying "If only I were a fly on the wall" - that's what you were in a sense - standing back observing this family, wondering what the day would bring for each of them and how they would cope with life's challenges.
Carrie Miles
great book I love every minute of reading it
This was an amazing book of what true love can conquer. This mother and daughter have to deal with so much heartache but in the end love always shines through. I loved the fact that this book took place in a small southern town and the characters are really easy to relate to even though you may not have ever been in that kind of situation. For me this was a story of love, second chances, and never giving up.
This was a good read: believably flawed people and interesting journeys for each of them over the course of a year in Kentucky. I thought the author did a great job of capturing small-town 1980s life in the state. I wish Jake had got what he deserved, but I suppose it's in the nature of life that people don't always get what they should.
Kathi Olsen
A story about an average family-aren't we all disfunctional in some ways? I could have done without the oral sex description and the rape scene was intense. For the rest of it, it shows that we all do the best we can with what's given us and we need to try and be kind in our thinking about others.
Peggy Walker
A fairly common theme....a woman whose husband left her for a flashy newcomer. A rebellious teenager trying to deal with the drama in her life in her own way, and making very typical mistakes. It's written fairly well, but did not have new insights into familiar situations.
Melissa Torres
This book surprised me. I enjoyed it as a whole but for a story with such tramatizing subject matter I was strangely unaffected by it. I did not get emotional at all. And there were plenty of times when I should have. But overall I did enjoy this book.
Perhaps I'm biased by the action books I've been reading lately, but it seems like not much happened in this book. Then again, it was a nice calm story, with a good deal of tragedy and hope, and a slice of 1980s Americana.
I learned from this book (in a redneck sort of way) that alot of people feel that keeping a secret and bearing the burden is something that should be done, but we learn that facing up and being honest can set you free.
The end of this book just floored me. I can't believe that's how it ended. I was thrown in the middle by a huge turn of events I didn't see coming so was looking forward to the last half but was disappointed.
This book is exactly what you expect it to be. Daddy abandons his family to take up with his mistress, daughter rebels, becomes pregnant, and dumps her kid on her family. Typical hillbilly story.
A difficult coming of age book, small town girl wanting to get out with major growing pain issues. Well written, not totally predictable. Teen years are tough and this is no exception.
this was a very good book. It was emotional in some chapters...but sometimes you need a good emotional book. You could relate to the charecters even if you've never been in there shoes.
I was only able to get through a little over half of this book. I just don't think it was the book for me at this time. Hopefully I can pick it up again in the future.
pretty good, just really sad. there are so many intense topics in this book - death, divorce, rape, pregnancy... - its just crazy. but still good
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