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40 Reviews
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Book You Will Fall in Love With
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...
Published on August 1, 2008 by Jordyn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars 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.
Published 4 months ago by Sandra D. Perry


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Book You Will Fall in Love With, August 1, 2008
This review is from: Calling Home (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Calling Home by Janna McMahan, February 5, 2008
This review is from: Calling Home (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich New Novel, February 18, 2008
By 
Julia A. Prater (Columbia, SC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Calling Home (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but predictable plot, August 1, 2010
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This review is from: Calling Home (Kindle Edition)
This was a nice, easy read. 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. I enjoyed the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling Home, December 8, 2008
By 
L. Manley (Versailles,Ky) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Calling Home (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling Home by Janna McMahan, February 7, 2008
By 
K. Spurling (Shelbyville, KY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Calling Home (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
4.0 out of 5 stars It Hurts So Good, February 24, 2008
This review is from: Calling Home (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. Virginia finally realizes that what she thought was weakness may be not only her greatest strength but the only way to begin the healing the family so desperately needs. The freedom she finds by at last giving herself permission to feel brings the whole family into a place of new peace and hope. At the end, we leave the Lemmons family expecting that they will survive, maybe even triumph.

I gave "Calling Home" four stars instead of five because I would have liked the first part of the book and the last to be more equal in length and because of McMahan's tendency to embed otherwise excellent prose.

The strength of "Calling Home" is in the personalities McMahan has created. Very real ordinary people, stilted by their culture, repressed by trauma, and devastated by loss, struggle to survive and find a new way to live. The Lemmons family is very easy to root for. This is a book about a family that you won't soon forget.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, June 3, 2014
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This review is from: Calling Home (Kindle Edition)
The characters were well drawn, but the plot was a little predictable. The characters were very relatable and the dialogue was strong.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book is a quick read and I enjoyed the way it was written., July 7, 2013
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This review is from: Calling Home (Kindle Edition)
For me, this story of poor behavior was just more of the same unfortunate reflection of Kentucky. I will read her other books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kentucky was Calling ME home, April 2, 2013
This review is from: Calling Home (Paperback)
McMahan's novel Calling Home is a great read; it seems so real while you follow Shannon and Virginia through their compelling story. Being a woman and from Kentucky, I feel like I can relate to both sides of the story, for various reasons, and McMahan's writing is one of many things that make this possible. Her illustrations of Kentucky take me back there, as if to let me live their lives along side them as I read this compelling story. I definitely recommend this be added to your book list!
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Calling Home
Calling Home by Janna McMahan (Paperback - February 1, 2008)
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