Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review - Because of Winn-Dixie [AUDIO]

Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
Date: 2000
Publisher: Listening Library
Reading level: MG
Book type: prose novel
Length: 2 hours 28 minutes
Format: audio book [unabridged]
Source: library

When 10-year-old India Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida, with her father, she doesn't know what to expect -- least of all, that she'll adopt Winn-Dixie, a dog she names after the supermarket where they met.

Right away, Opal knows she can tell Winn-Dixie anything -- like the fact that lately she's been thinking a lot about her mother, who left when Opal was three. And that her father, the preacher, won't talk about her mother at all. And that she's lonely. But with such an unusually friendly dog at her side, Opal soon finds herself making more than a few unusual friends. And ultimately, Opal and the preacher realize -- with a little help from Winn-Dixie, of course -- that while they've both tasted a bit of melancholy in their lives, they still have a whole lot to be thankful for.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I really haven't had much experience with audio books.  For some reason, I'd viewed them sort of as cheating... like if I didn't actually read a book myself, then it didn't count.  Which is kind of silly, actually.  The last audio book I listened to was an abridged version of Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy way back in the 1990s (on cassette tape -- my age is showing).  I really enjoyed it, so I don't know why I was so hesitant to try audio books again.

Because of Winn-Dixie is a cute story about a girl and her dog.  It's one of those books that evokes the atmosphere of small-town America in a way that seems so real that it can create a sense of nostalgia (even for those who've never been to small-town America).  The cast of characters was colourful and entertaining, and everybody had their own story.  Winn-Dixie was a fun animal character, too, with his unusual but friendly manner of greeting people and his neurosis about thunderstorms.

There's really not much I have to say against the book, though I wasn't crazy about the choice of narrator for the audio book.  Opal was supposed to be a 10-year-old girl, so listening to what sounded like a 40-year-old smoker kind of threw me.  Other than that, the performance itself was good, with lovely inflection and different voices for the various characters.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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