Saturday, February 9, 2019

LOUISIANA'S WAY HOME by Kate DiCamillo

I just read Louisiana's Way Home, and it was sooo good!

Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
pub date: October 2, 2018

But of course it was, right? Kate DiCamillo is such an amazing writer, I think she might be magical.

Here's the novel's flap copy:
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 figures that it is only a matter of time before Granny changes her mind and they come back home. 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 to find a way to return home. But as Louisiana's life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of Richford, Georgia--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.)

Called "one of DiCamillo's most singular and arresting creations" by the New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale, and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.



One of my favorite things about any Kate DiCamillo book is the voice. This holds true for Louisiana's Way Home as well. I read the book in a few sittings, and I couldn't help but feel the rhythm of the voice in my head each time I closed the book.

Louisiana is a smart girl with seriously difficult things going on in her life. Her courage and bright outlook make her a truly engaging character, and her heart, her vulnerability, and her thoughtfulness make her extremely lovable.

The story takes place in the 1970s. As wonderful as cell phones and the Internet are, I think their existence can be problematic in some stories, and I wonder if that played into DiCamillo's decision when she chose the year her story would take place.

The story is funny and clever, and it has so many fun details. I think it would make a fabulous read-aloud book. I loved reading it, and I highly recommend it!

I've read many of DiCamillo's books. While I intended to read Raymie Nightingale when it came out, I never got to it. You know how our TBR lists grow and grow and grow--there are so many great books to read! Yay! Anyway, I'll definitely be reading Raymie Nightingale in the near future!

* * *

In 2015, I was able to meet Kate DiCamillo when she spoke at a local event! I posted this pic once before, but I'm positing it again because hello, my friend Lynn Brunelle and I met Kate DiCamillo! :)


I'm sure that moment was much more memorable for me than it was for Ms. DiCamillo, but that's okay. The important thing is that I managed to avoid any embarrassing fangirl behaviors, like tripping, being unable to talk, or being unable to stop talking. (Sorry, E. Lockhart.*) Also, I got her autograph!


*All I did was greet E. Lockhart with A LOT of enthusiasm, and she was very gracious about it--which makes me like her even more.

* * *

You can read many excellent reviews of Louisiana's Way Home here on the IndieBound page, but I'll share two of them now:

"DiCamillo builds a resilient and sympathetic character in Louisiana, and the juxtaposition of her down-to-earth observations with Granny's capriciousness tightens the narrative and allows for a good deal of humor... The overarching themes addressing forgiveness, love, friendship, acceptance, home, and family ("Perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who puts us down but who picks us up") ring honest and true."
-The Horn Book (starred review)

"DiCamillo is able to address complex topics in an accessible and ultimately hopeful way. There is never sadness without comfort, fear without consolation. Louisiana's soul-searching is no exception and further solidifies DiCamillo's reputation as a skilled storyteller who trusts her readers to wrestle with hard things. A thoughtful and finely written story that earns its place among DiCamillo's other beloved books."
-School Library Journal (starred review)


How about you? Have you read Louisiana's Way Home? What author or authors would you love to meet? Also, what are you reading? Tell me, tell me!

5 comments:

DMS said...

Sounds like a great book. I have read and enjoyed a lot of DiCamillo's books. I have heard a lot of mixed things about Raymie Nightingale- so I wasn't sure about this one. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Jemi Fraser said...

I do enjoy DiCamillo's voice as well -haven't read this one yet though! How luck you were able to meet her - what a thrill!!!

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Jess! Interesting about RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE. Tell me if you like LOUISIANA'S WAY HOME!

Hi, Jemi! BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE is the first book of hers I read, and I remember being blown away by the voice. And yes, it was so great to hear her speak and then meet her!

Susan R. Mills said...

Hi Dawn!!! I've missed you my friend. I just came back and can't wait to catch up. I'm so excited you are still around!

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Susan! Welcome back! It will be fun to catch up! :)