“The world was beautiful. It surprised me, how beautiful it kept on insisting on being. In spite of all the lies, it was beautiful.”
Louisiana Elephante is awoken in the middle of the night by her grandmother, loaded into their car and taken away from the place she has settled into being her home. Used to her grandmother’s eccentricities, Louisiana thinks they will be heading back soon. Her life is turned upside down when she it told they will not be going back, but must forge ahead to break the curse that is on their family in Louisiana’s Way Home. Everything Louisiana knows about the world comes from her grandmother’s perspective – that the county homes and bologna are bad, that her parents were trapeze artists who are dead and that they don’t need a phone. A wonderful tragedy happens on their journey that changes everything for Louisiana.
I am a Kate DiCamillo fan and have read almost all of her books. My two favorites are The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Flora and Ulysses. As soon as I saw she had a new book out, Louisiana’s Way Home, I put it on hold at my local library. I only had to wait two weeks for the ebook to become available through the Libby app. I got through the book in just two days and my daughters are also reading the book.
Louisiana actually has to take over driving when they head into Georgia from Florida because her grandmother has a toothache. She gets to a dentist and all of her grandmother’s teeth need to be removed. The recovery has them stay in a motel where Louisiana meets a boy named Burke Allen. As he and the town learn about Louisiana’s situation, some take pity and some want no part in possibly being “hoodwinked.” In the end, Louisiana finds the truth about her life and who she is and finally finds a place to truly call home.
I love the message of Louisiana’s Way Home – terrible tragedy can result in wonderful things happening in the end. Louisiana faces a life and truth that not many children should have to deal with, but many do. However, there are good people all around and those who see Louisiana step in and help take care of her and give her the life every child should have. My own mother had a rough childhood and a lady at church took her in and changed the course of my mother’s future. Do good and be kind – you can change lives. I would recommend this book to very mature older elementary students or older as Louisiana’s life with her grandmother is not ideal. There is no objectionable material except for a curse, an abandoned baby and a magician cutting a woman in half and refusing to put her together.