When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return.
Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)
If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you will know that Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors. Louisiana’s Way Home is her most recent release. When I saw a copy at my local library, I grabbed it without hesitation and started to read. I began to read even though I had an entire list of books waiting on me that I probably should have read first.
There is always a bit of trepidation when you start a new book from one of your favorite authors. You can’t help but put pressure on the new book to live up to your expectations. There is also a lot of excitement that comes with the possibility of another story to fall in love with.
This book lived up to my very high expectations. In fact, I immediately purchased my own copy after I finished my library’s so I could revisit the story, underline the words that I loved and share it with others.
Louisiana’s Way Home is funny and quirky, sad and hopeful. It is a hard story to read at times. It deals with loss and abandonment and the “curse of sundering.” I appreciate the author’s ability to share these hard topics with kids in a gentle and truthful way. I know there are kids who will relate with Lousiana’s story with a quiet “me too.”
Her story is also filled with humor and kindness. I love the characters Louisiana encounters. Most are wonderful and completely endearing. They included the type of person who would give you two bologna sandwiches when you only ask for one as well as the kind of people who would invite you to sit at their table and hold your hand while you eat ice cream. There are sad moments in this story, yes, but there are also many moments filled with acts of kindness that make me what to say, “me too,” I want to to be like that.
Ultimately, as the title suggests, this is a book about coming home which will forever be one of my favorite storylines.
My definition of a good book includes: a story that makes me laugh and cry, words that make me pull out my pencil to underline a thought that is so good I don’t want to forget it, sentences and word choice that make me smile, and a message or feeling that sticks with me long after I have read the last word.
Lousiana’s Way Home is a good book.
If you are interested in more books by Kate DiCamillo, I wrote a post about that. You can find it here.
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