Have you read Edward Tulane?
Yes? Then how can I possibly review it without spoiling it for someone who hasn't read it?
No? Go and read it now. Yes, now! I'll wait for you to come back........
Now aren't you glad I made you go and read it?
Like you, I had been meaning to read it for years. In fact ever since I read my first DiCamillo back in 2008.
Since then one of my colleagues has fallen in love with Edward. She has spent the better part of the past two years asking me if I've read it yet.
It took a guilt-fueled freezing cold Saturday evening to get me there.
Guilty because I realised that I had put this title on my autumnal reading list in March...a reading list that only had one title ticked off it...and only one week left to run on it. I decided I had time to at least knock over the kid's fiction!
(The freezing cold part is self explanatory - as we all know (even those of us who loathe winter with a passion) that there's nothing nicer than curling up under a warm blanket with a great book when "it's cold out there" - can you name that movie?)
When it comes to crying in books and movies I'm a pretty tough cookie. I can read about death and dying with nary a tear. But give me a hard won happy ending or a bittersweet twist and I'm a blubbering mess.
I don't think I've ever blubbered.
I've probably missed out on loads of valuable life experiences by not blubbering ever.
Being stoical has it's good points, it's strong points, but it can give people the very misleading idea that you are unfeeling or cold. Or not capable of loving...like poor old Edward.
Although Edward's love problems didn't stem from stoicism but from egotism instead.
As for his journey?
Wow. Poor Edward really had to learn his lessons the hard way. It was miraculous that he survived at all.
His happy-against-all-odds ending would melt the hardest heart and warm the cockles of the most gentle soul you know.
As a child who feared being lost, I'm not sure how well I would have coped with this story. I either would have pushed it to one side in disgust (really fear) or I would have read it obsessively, picking away at my fear like a scab on my knee.
And that's the beauty of DiCamillo's writing. She gets right into the heart of a very real childhood fear and she shows you how to survive it, to live with it, to give into it, to outgrow it and to finally overcome it.
If you haven't read it, make sure you pick up an illustrated copy. Bagram Ibatoulline's illustrations are delightful and a perfect match for the mood and tone of the writing.