Because of Winn-Dixie is what I would consider perfection in children’s literature. Yes, it may be lacking a huge dose of imagination and general comedy, but it comes together so beautifully in a novel that I hope will remain a classic.
India Opal (generally called Opal) has just moved to a new town with her father (a single parent and pastor of a small church in town). She finds it hard to make friends and doesn’t find her father to be great company because he is very introverted and honestly just doesn’t know what to do with Opal. But when she finds a stray dog at the local Winn-Dixie, she is off on an adventure of finding friends and learning about life. She meets a great cast of characters, some innocent and naive of the harsh world, and some that have felt unimaginable pain, like herself.
Author Kate DiCamillo doesn’t load on the life lessons, but takes Opal on a character-driven road to self-discovery. We learn about her past and her estranged mother, as she learns the life stories and lessons of her new-found friends. Opal is not just a great character, but a great narrator of her journey.
P.S. I would highly recommend listening to the audio book version of this novel.
by Kate DiCamillo
Originally published in 2000