Oct 05, 09
Read in October, 2009
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Kate DiCamillio. Like just about everyone, I adored The Tale of Despereaux, and I enjoyed The Magician's Elephant (Edward Tulane didn't quite do it for me -- though I can appreciated it's message). I read this immediately after The Magician's Elephant because I was curious as to whether or not everything by her would be so chuck full of sentences that end in "from the bottom of his heart" and the like. Because that's what's keeping me from simply saying "I love Kate DiCamillo!" and got me saying "...I'm not sure how I feel about Kate DiCamillio" instead. She's so earnest. And sometimes her phrasing, her constant talk about hearts, hearts, hearts, feels a little trite. But then I also believe that she really believes what she's writing, and I fault myself for being too hard when I should be hopeful. I don't know. As I've said before though, I very much appreciate her ability to balance the heavy stuff, the sad stuff, with the light. Admittedly, there isn't as much happy here as in some of her other stories, but it's still a relatable read for any kid that's ever suffered a kind of loss. She doesn't pander and you can tell she has a great respect and love for her audience.
While there was just as much heart-talk here as in any of her books, the writing style was markedly different from everything else I've read by her; she wrote a southern accent well (Willie Mae was particularly good -- great character), and a mature set of characters and plot. Though not the most surprising story, it's a well told one. She packs quite punch for such a small (or short rather) package. And I can't lie, I was trying not to shed any tears on the bus, as I came to the end of it.
The Tiger Rising is pretty heavy on metaphor, but they were all good lessons, and the idea of Rob's "suitcase" full of all the things he's afraid to talk about, how the tiger was the thing big and heavy enough to set on top and keep it shut, was one I particularly admired.