Meet Edward Tulane. He is a rabbit made almost entirely of china who thinks “to be an exceptional specimen.” He belongs to a little girl called Abilene who loves him dearly. And although Edward quite enjoys Abilene’s attentions, he finds he somewhat boring and not nearly as exceptional as himself.
The tale unfolds as Edward is lost at sea – both literally and figuratively – and forced to become accustomed to various recreations at the hands of new owners who all teach him the value of love and belonging. Through this journey that lasts years, Edward comes to find his heart – “For the first time, his heart called out to him” – and with it, a deep pain that leaves him shattered.
I have highlighted great chunks of this story – “Edward knew what it was like to say over and over again the names of those you had left behind. He knew what it was like to miss someone. And so he listened. And in his listening, his heart opened wide and then wider still.” And these feelings leave Edward feeling bereft:
“How many times, Edward wondered, would he have to leave without getting the chance to say goodbye? A lone cricket started up a song. Edward listened. Something deep inside him ached. He wished that he could cry.”
Edward’s notion of love and loving evolves in this short story. It gains dimensions as he travels until it leaves him feeling depleted – “I am done with hope, thought Edward Tulane.” Only to realise that “If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”
This is a book that you will swallow whole. Read to your children, your grandchildren and then carry it with you in your heart. DiCamillo is a master storyteller. We should all be so lucky to find an Edward Tulane.