Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
|Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Anne Thompson|
|Summary: Louisiana is a character with a distinctive and memorable voice. Her story is one of resilience and kindness conquering loss and fear and Kate DiCamillo tells it with humour and care. Highly recommended|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2018|
|Publisher: Walker Books|
|External links: Author's website|
It is the middle of the night when twelve year old Louisiana Elefante's granny wakes her up to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they must leave home immediately. Granny is prone to middle of the night ideas so initially Louisiana is not too worried by this but then gradually she realises that this time it is different. This time Granny intends that they will never return. Separated from her friends, Raymie and Beverly and her cat, Archie, Louisiana is devastated and desperate. She is determined that she will find her way home somehow. But as her life becomes entwined with the people living in a small Georgia town Louisiana starts to worry about the curse Granny told her was upon her head and fears that she is destined only for goodbyes.
It is easy to fall in love with Kate DiCamillo's characters and especially so when they are as charming and appealing as the wonderful Louisiana. She was first introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale and when I read that book Raymie stole my heart but I was also intrigued by Louisiana and her wonderful mix of vulnerability and courage. This is Louisiana's story and it is every bit as heart-breaking and beautiful as Raymie's. Although published as a sequel if you have not already read Raymie Nightingale you will still be able to enjoy this as it works perfectly well as a stand-alone story.
The cast of characters depicted by DiCamillo, including the grumpy motel owner, the walrus-like church minister and the mysterious boy with the crow on his shoulder are all wonderful. Told in a first person narrative by Louisiana herself her voice is a strong, determined one and her humour lifts the sadness frequently. The plot is both unexpected and moving. Yet again the author manages to weave together a compelling narrative with an underlying theme of resilience, forgiveness, kindness and hope. There is a point in the story when Louisiana is recounting her story to a character and she is surprised to see a single tear running down her listener's cheek. I was not at all surprised as her story had the same effect on me. However this is not a sad read as such but it is, I think, a very touching one. The kindness shown by some of the characters that Louisiana meets is both moving and consoling. Set in America in the 1970s this somehow still manages to have a feel of a fable or fairy tale about it. Louisiana's journey to find both home and the person she will become is a timeless one and this adds greatly to the book's appeal. Kate DiCamillo has a rare gift as a storyteller; she writes with such care and wisdom that her stories stay with you for a very long time. She has a remarkable understanding of children's emotions and in this book her words will comfort and reassure readers of all ages. Perhaps a quote from the story is the best way of summarising its hopeful message:
Perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who puts us down but who picks us up.
As you can probably tell I absolutely loved both the story and Louisiana. My thanks to the publishers, Walker Books, for providing this review copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo at Amazon.com.
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