Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Beverley, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

Beverley, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo
September 2019 Candlewick Press/Walker Books
Revisiting once again the world of Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana's Way Home, twice winner of the Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo turns her focus to the tough-talking, inescapably tenderhearted Beverly Tapinski.
Beverly put her foot down on the gas. They went faster still. This was what Beverly wanted – what she always wanted. To get away. To get away as fast as she could. To stay away. Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away ... it’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mum, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her – and, gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.

This is the third book in what has now been called the Three Rancheros series.  Each book following one of three girls.  Raymie Nightigale, Louisiana’s Way Home and now Beverley Right Here.

The blurb says that this book will break your heart and put it together again, and that is most certainly true.  As an adult reading this, my heart breaks right from the get go, because what must a child’s life be like if she chooses to leave home at 14, after the only thing that means anything to her dies…her dog. 

Beverley is only 14, and she makes a decision to leave and then leaves.  She has this air about her that everything will be alright, when leaving home, getting a job and finding a place to live is a daunting prospect for many, let alone a 14 years old girl.  The book is set in 1979, so maybe that plays a part, but her cool calm demeanor probably has a lot to do with the fact that she had to be the grown up form an early age, as we can see here.

Page 37
“I’ve been driving since I was ten,“ said Beverly.
“Ten?” said Iola. She blinked.
”My uncle taught me.  My mother was drunk all the time, so he figured it was a good idea for me to know how to drive.”

On the face of it, this book should be depressing and heartbreaking, but it’s not.  It’s full of love and friendship and understanding.  It shows that the right people can come into your life when you need them.  It shows that there are good people in the world, and that you can make a difference in someone's life, just just by being there.  It's easy to say that Beverley would have been lost without Iona, but Iona, who suffered from her 'blue days', needed someone just as much.  

I read a digital ARC courtesy of NetGalley, and there was a note to readers at the start. This is what Kate DiCamillo had to say about the books as series, and I could have just posted this because she says it all!

Raymie Nightingale is about the saving grace of friendship. Louisiana’s Way Home is about deciding who you are. And Beverly, Right Here is about acting on that knowledge of who you are. They are all stories of becoming, I think. And all three of these books are about the power of community - the grace of someone opening a door and welcoming you in, and maybe most of all, having the courage to walk through that door once it’s open.

Thanks to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the opportunity to review.

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