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Book Review: Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

Beverly, just fourteen years old, runs away from her home because there is nothing left for her there. Her mom is an alcoholic, and her dog, Buddy is buried beneath the orange trees and one of her best friends, Louisiana, has moved away. Beverly originally from Central Florida ends up in Tamaray Beach, Florida where she meets some very interesting and unique people.

Beverly, Right Here takes very little time to get going. The characters that we meet in the first couple of chapters are carried on throughout the rest of the book. Beverly gets a job at Mr. C’s, a very sketchy restaurant and finds a little old lady, Iola who invites her in to have a tuna melt. Beverly says that she is a very experienced driver, even though she is only fourteen, and drives Iola to her bingo game. Then Beverly is invited to stay at Iola’s trailer house. Even though Beverly leaves her home, she finds another form among strangers who become her family. In this way, the novel is a redemptive picture of the power of community.

You cannot read Beverly, Right Here without feeling a little sad for Beverly. Beverly does not have a phone so she has to use the phone booth that is outside of Mr.C’s, the restaurant. Inside the phone booth she always reads the words, “In a crooked little house by a crooked little sea.” Beverly always repeats those words describing Iola’s trailer house or even the house with her mother, always thinking that she is going to be drinking. DiCamillo always shows throughout the book that Beverly does not know where she needs to go and where home is going to be. There are questions that show up throughout the book and even in the end most of them do not get answered. We never know if Beverly stays with Iola or goes back home to her friend Raymie and her dog, Buddy.

Even though Beverly has a home growing up, she is never able to trust her mom or dad, who left them when she was six. DiCamillo writes, “Beverly could think of all kinds of reasons not to trust. People leave- that was one, but they don’t, really-that was another.” You are able to see Beverly grow to learn about trust throughout the rest of the novel.

All of the different characters in the novel, help shape exactly who Beverly is becoming. Beverly meets many people, the owner of Mr.C’s, Mr. Denby, and her new friend, Elmer that loves to always read books and has a full ride to Dartmouth. Mr. Denby is always paying Beverly under the table because she is not old enough to work at his restaurant. Every single conversation that Beverly has with him is almost exactly the same. He always tells her about his wife and daughters and how he is working here and getting money just for them. Elmer, the boy who works at the desk of the store named, Zoom City, slowly becomes her friend. Beverly goes to his store after work and soon begins a friendship with the boy who loves to read books.

DiCamillo’s novel has a poetic sense to it. The poetic sense of the sentence structure helps to make the book very enjoyable to read. DiCamillo writes this book so that you do not really know exactly what is going on in Beverly’s mind. You as the reader have to piece it together in order to know exactly what Beverly is thinking. This also makes the novel confusing trying to have to piece together what Beverly is thinking. Sometimes I did not know what was going on because of all of the different characters and pieces of the story that are needed to keep straight.

Beverly learns that home is not just a place a person is born. She can make home with people that are not related to her as well. Consider this quote: “Beverly thought, I have left home to wear a flowered nightgown and sit on a little tiny porch in a trailer park and play cards with an old lady. This is stupid. But where she had been had never truly felt like home.” Slowly she sees that even though Iola is an old lady she was more of a mother to her than what she had back home. Iola is trying to help Beverly out and never asks too many annoying questions. Iola is becoming her family, but in the back of her mind she really missed her friend Raymie as well as Buddy. Throughout the book the reader is able to see Beverly be more open to everything around her and more trusting of those that she is with. Beverly becomes happy and is actually able to smile and laugh right along with Iola and Elmer.

Beverly, Right Here is a very enjoyable book that many generations of children will read and be able to feel as though they are in Beverly’s place and can see Mr. C’s restaurant to be able to hear Iola’s laugh. Through reading this book children and adults can see how important family is to someone, and see that family can be not just by blood but can be friends that turn into family, just like Beverly.

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