FRIDAY BOOK SHARING!
What are you reading?
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Raymie since I first read about her on Kate DiCamillo’s website. I just finished reading Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and WOW! Kate DiCamillo fans will see some familiar themes of loss, hope, community (oh, and children with fabulous pets!) and the importance of friendship. I couldn’t help but think of Winn Dixie, though Raymie is a completely different and unique character. Sadness permeates this book, just as the cover grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go. We see the back of a young girl, standing in water, with a baton. And while we don’t understand the cover right away, let me tell you that yes, the cover works. It is brilliant. When you finish the book, you will see just how brilliant it is.
Beyond Kate’s website, I didn’t read anything about Raymie until after I finished the book. Kate DiCamillo has given a few interviews and there are snippets and pieces about Raymie popping up all over the place – but I didn’t want to read anything until I finished. And as all of Kate DiCamillo’s books “WOW” me, this one did as well. I was surprised many times by the journey, and the friendship, of Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly Tapinski. Raymie is a girl with a plan – to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, which will cause her father (who recently left with a dental hygienist) and return to Raymie’s life. Somehow, as the reader, we know that this is not going to work. But don’t tell Raymie this, because she is determined. As are her friends, with problems and plans of their own. This is a book of sadness, yet also the unfailing hope of these young girls, who have a plan and a vision. Nothing works out as the planned, but isn’t that how life is? And while there is sadness and loneliness, there is also humor, quirky characters and crazy adventures (really, the search for a baton, a stolen/lost library book, a cat who is possibly dead?) and three girls who persevere through the difficult and unexpected, looking for a way through to happiness. And as always, beautiful language that stays with the reader, long after turning the page. The moment I finished, I returned to the first page to start the journey again. But perhaps my favorite moment came with Raymie’s world and Florence Nightingale connecting in a most unexpected and unusual manner. (I promise, I’m trying very hard not to spoil the plot, but I love these lines – now read the book please!)
“For the first time, she understood Florence Nightingale and her lantern and her bright and shining path. She understood why Edward Option had given her the book.
For just a minute, she understood everything in the whole world.”
“She was Raymie Nightingale, coming to the rescue.”
Thank you, Kate DiCamillo. Beautiful.