Date of Publication: 2000
Page count: 22,123
Publisher’s description: The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends, and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship-and forgiveness-can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.
Five things I liked:
1) The main character’s name, India Opal Buloni. I hadn’t read a single page when I knew this little girl was going to be likeable and endearing. How could she not be with a name like that?
2) The way Opal’s dog, Winn-Dixie, helps her resolve or at least feel better about a big issue in her life.
3) How adaptable kids can be. Opal is faced with many challenges and finds a way with her determined spirit to tackle each one.
4) The great lesson that you can not judge others on what you assume.
5) The memorable secondary characters that help Opal and her journey with her new life. There’s Otis, the pet store manager; Miss Franny, the librarian; Gloria Dump, an almost blind neighbor; and her minister father.
Favorite Line: “I was glad it was raining so hard, because it made it easy to cry.”
Who will love this book? Anyone and it makes a great read on an airplane. You can start and finish it in a two hour flight.