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Calling Home Paperback – January 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; Uncorrected Proof edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758221967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758221964
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,500,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Central Kentucky in the fertile farming land at the foothills of the Appalachians. It was this beautiful area that inspired me to write CALLING HOME. Often people say when they read CALLING HOME that they can tell how much I love the land and it is true that I've got a little Scarlett O'Hara in me when it comes to the black dirt and old houses that belong to my family. While not autobiographical, I do think CALLING HOME is a true story of growing up a country teenager in the late 1970s when rock-n-roll ruled and opportunities were few.

I've lived in South Carolina most of my adult life. I set my second novel, THE OCEAN INSIDE, along the coast here. I was nervous to have people from my adopted state read my work as I tend to be very descriptive about land and culture. The best review I got was from the Myrtle Beach paper where they wrote, "You'd never know she's not a native." Whew!

My new novel, ANONYMITY, is a psychological thriller about the young homeless who dwell in the urban creeks and alleys of Austin. Like my other novels, ANONYMITY is an emotionally-charged family drama, but this one really took me out of my comfort zone. Through thorough research and meeting these young people in person, I came to really understand and appreciate their world.

My publisher for ANONYMITY, Koehler Books, is donating a portion of the sale of each book to LifeWorks, the youth homeless shelter that helped me with research. I hope we can raise lots of money for LifeWorks while contributing to a more positive public perception of the young people adrift on our streets.

www.facebook.com/jannamcmahan
@JannaMc
www.JannaMcMahan.com.

Customer Reviews

McMahan has beautifully developed her characters in this special novel.
Julia A. Prater
The story carries you through the turmoils and trials of the struggle of their lives, noticing the unexpected touching moments along the way.
Carmen Bilton
It got a bit depressing after all sorts of bad things happened to the main character, but of course it all works out in the end.
lpgeorge123

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jordyn on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book in a grocery store on my lunch break, just needing something to pass the time. I did not expect much from this story, but upon cracking the spine, I almost immediately dove into the story- finding myself fifteen minutes late back from lunch because I just couldn't put the book down. I then found myself stealing away five minutes here and there, and when I got home, I finished the story in one remaining sitting. It was not a "grab you by the seat of your pants" kind of story, but it was one that you did not want to stop journeying along with.
Both main characters, the mom and the 14 year old daughter, are struggling women trying to get over the loss of their husband/father when he walks out of their lives to live DOWN THE ROAD with a new beautician. Though one would expect the author to center the story around the bitter anger toward the cheating husband, Janna McMahan weaves together a beautiful story, like poetry, and pulls in strong co-staring characters. The daugher's first boyfriend, whom I personally fell in love with; the southern- gossipy type neighbors; the new romantic interests in the mother's life; and yes, even the husband gets a part in the story and I don't hate him as much.
This was a wonferful story and I definitely cried at the end with bittersweet tears- and I'll admit I was ANGRY at the daughter for her decision!!! But was well worth the trip to the grocery store, as well as the angry words spewing from my boss' mouth that one day.
Great read- very much enjoyed.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Susan Crane on February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful novel !!! This book is so real and captivating I stayed up all night reading it. Janna McMahan's very real account of Shannon's struggle to become an adult made me feel a variety of emotions for her. Pain, sadness, frustration and finally, hope. This story is so real and compelling it has happened or could have happened to any woman anywhere in America. It's wonderfully written. Don't miss it !!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Julia A. Prater on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
McMahan has beautifully developed her characters in this special novel. Telling the story alternating from the perspective of different characters gives a depth of insight into her characters. Her descriptions of Kentucky and tobacco farming are beautiful and real. Calling Home is a story of survival from the perspective of personal challenges to that of the family farm in America to that of a community following a major natural disaster. McMahan weaves it all together in a heart-wrenching tale that you can't put down. I look forward to more work from this fine writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Manley on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I live in Kentucky and love to read books set close to home or at least in the south. This book caught my attention because it was a double whammy, rural Kentucky and during the time I was in high school. While at first I was caught up in the description of the countryside and schools to see how authentic the author was in her writing, I found myself absorbed in a story that made me forget where it was set. This story could happen in any rural southern community.

Virginia and her family have an awakening of lifes struggles and the author weaves their troubles into a compelling tale of hardship and resolution.

You learn why some secrets should be shared and why communication between those you love is so important.

Upon finishinig this book, I couldn' wait to read the author's next one. She is a new talent that I can't wait to explore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Spurling on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
An absorbing read, McMahan has written a novel that explores how life itself can confront ordinary human beings with powerful dilemas. With its rich characters, it makes it a powerful read. She knows just where she wants to take us, making it a book I couldn't let go.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susannah Connelly on February 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
The opening chapter of "Calling Home" is a grabber. Right from the start, Virginia Lemmons shows us what she's made of. Like the lone Wild West scout in the desert, she confronts the reality of the gangrenous wound threatening to kill her and lances it despite fear of the pain.

Wondering how the events of the book will affect this central character kept me turning the pages of this complex narrative of a family in central Kentucky during the 1970s. The other characters -- her children, her cheating husband, her vaguely involved boyfriend -- seem to bounce off Virginia's tough, resilient hide as she bears up, holding things together through a series of some of life's hardest blows.

Shannon, Virginia's teenaged daughter, seems oblivious to the pain swirling through her family. The reality of it, however, lurks in her peripheral vision, muffling joy as well as pain and limiting her ability to read potential danger. In her concentration on daily events and the framework of her teenage life - grades, boy friends, girl friends - Shannon seems her mother's daughter. All in all, this young woman seems a true representation of a good girl trying to survive a dysfunctional upbringing.

As other reviewers have stated, "Calling Home" demonstrates the author's considerable skill at exposition. Some of the sections on processes - curing tobacco, taxidermy, etc. - could be the beginnings of how-to manuals, so thorough are they. In contrast, her descriptions of tragic events seem somewhat detached, perhaps deliberately echoing her characters' self-protection mechanisms.

The resolution of the bad season of the Lemmons family is the most satisfying part of the book.
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