Monday, February 11, 2008

Because of Winn-Dixie

This is the type of book that warms your heart, and makes you smile so hard that you sneeze! (Sorry, I had to. That was one of my favorite parts!)

I really enjoyed this novel by Kate DiCamillo. I fell in love with Winn-Dixie from the very beginning and I could tell Opal was a special kind of girl as well. The two had such a strong bond and Winn-Dixie was just what Opal needed to get her started in a new town.

In Chapter 8 of our Temple text, it discusses Realistic Fiction and provides many different categories and books that would fit into them. Because of Winn-Dixie is in the 'Books about Nature & Animals' and rightly so. I feel like it could also fit into the category of 'Books about Self-Discovery and Growing Up'. I say that because Opal developed so much through the relationships she built with the characters in the book, even with the Dewberry boys.
Opal Learned from Gloria Dump to not judge other people because of their past but to look at what they're doing now. That helped her to look at the everyone in a new light and give people a chance. Opal learns why Amanda is so 'pinch-faced' and Gloria tells her that sometimes 'the whole world has an aching heart'. I think that teaches Opal some empathy and allows her to relate better to people because of the aching heart she has from her mama leaving.

I think DiCamillo creates a very authentic setting with this book. It is in a small town with everyday people in a somewhat middle class area. None of the characters are perfect, and neither are the families. It shows that everyone comes from a different background, learns from what has happened, and helps other people to also understand what they have learned.

One of my favorite characters in this book was Otis, and it may just be because I have seen the movie and Dave Matthews plays this character. He is a very free-spirited person who just wants to play his music. The book made you feel sorry for him for having been put in jail. All he was doing was playing his music, not even asking money for it and the police had to go and cause a scene with it. Granted, I know I am guilty of rolling my eyes at people in big cities who stand at a corner and play their music with their instrument case sitting in front of them for anyone who wants to leave some spare change. It was intriguing how Otis was able to calm the animals with his music in the pet shop. I know music calms me down when I am stressed, so I can relate to the animals in that sense. It must really stress animals out when they are caged up all the time.

I really liked the idea of the Littmus Lozenges Miss Franny told Opal about. I know such thing doesn't actually exist, but I found a web page online a class made that has their own recipe for Littmus Lozenges, minus the ingredient of sorrow. The whole concept of the candy made me think that there are bittersweet moments throughout life. It is good to recognize them every once in a while to remember where you have come from, and how far you have come along since then.

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