Book Review: A Miraculous Journey
review by Molly Lewis
Have you ever asked yourself the question, ‘If I were stranded on a deserted island with only one book, what would it be?’ This is a question I ask myself regularly. Not that I get stranded on many deserted islands, but it is important, I think, to recognize the things you find essential. After all, you just never know. Several months ago, there were about four books on my list, ranging from Dostoevsky to Cynthia Voigt. After I read Kate DiCamillo’s young adult book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, that number went to five.
The title says more than I ever could: this book takes you on a miraculous journey. As with many of DiCamillo’s fictional heroes, Edward Tulane is about as unlikely as they come. Not for any lack of uniqueness, mind you. On the contrary, Edward is utterly one-of-a-kind. An exquisitely crafted china rabbit, with ears and tail of real rabbit fur, no one is more aware of Edward’s beauty than Edward himself. And that, my dear readers, is what makes him so unlikely: he is so conceited, that he is completely unlikeable. Nothing, in fact, can save this china rabbit from his insufferable snobbery. Nothing, that is, but the powerful, patient, transformative effort of Love.
DiCamillo draws her characters with insightful creativity. You will delight in following Edward’s haphazard journey as he is cast from the hands of a child to the waves of the sea, from the home of a hearty fisherman to the rambling roads of a friendly tramp. But be sure to bring a box of tissue. The conclusion is too beautiful to summarize (and I never give away an ending). Let us just say, I finished this book at a cafe table, sitting across from a good friend. As I read the last chapter aloud, I could not help but glance up. There were tears in her eyes and a look of complete satisfaction on her face. Had she not been watching the sun setting behind the desert hills, she would have seen the same tears in my own eyes. Read this book. And be sure, next time you find yourself awash on a deserted shore, to have a sturdy copy of the Miraculous Journey tucked under your arm. You won’t be disappointed.