Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal. Published by Viking

12 year old Liberty Bell (Ibby) has lost her father in an accident and her mother has just dumped her at her eccentric grandmother’s house in New Orleans. Grandma Fanny has more than her fair share of loss and as a result, has spent time hospitalized at the local mental institution. Ibby doesn’t know what to make of her grandmother or her two servants, Queenie and her daughter Dollbaby. This is 1964, and coming from the Pacific Northwest, Ibby has never seen a Black person, let alone have one as a maid. Despite the turbulence of the 60’s, with Vietnam, desegregation and the Civil Rights Act, Ibby, Fanny, Queenie and Doll form a makeshift family. While Ibby learns some hard truths about her parents and grandparents, she comes to understand that love heals all wounds.
A riveting portrait of 1960’s Louisiana, family, bigotry and faith. I will never look at a pelican the same way. A monumental achievement.

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