I had read a few interviews with Kate DiCamillo and was looking forward to her newest book Raymie Nightingale. I loved Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and Because of Winn-Dixie, and thought that The Tale of Despereaux was rather fun. (I am making my way through books DiCamillo has authored).
The chatter around Raymie Nightingale was that DiCamillo had poured a lot of her childhood history into the story. For me, the story lacked an arc, of any kind, and underdeveloped characters.
Raymie Nightingale is about three girls who to enter the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. Raymie feels that if she wins her father, whom left town, will return after he sees her in the paper for winning the competition. Yet, the focus shifts to an animal shelter and a nursing home. Both of which are stronger story lines than the one intended to be. Alas, everything falls short with these three half-hearted-half-developed story lines.
Maybe the story didn’t resonate with me because I didn’t have friendships at Raymie’s age. I felt that DiCamillo’s writing, although still excellent, lacked the fun and structure of her past stories. Maybe putting too much of herself into the story caused it to read sub-par for me.
2 out of 5 stars