Thursday, February 11, 2016

Flora and Ulysses (Kate DiCamillo)

I have read this book before and blogged about it here.

This time when I read it I kept wondering what the meaning of all the craziness was. There seems like there must be some meaning behind the crazy lamp, the crazy kid who is blind, the crazy parents, the other crazy adults, and of course, the crazy idea that a squirrel can be a superhero!

So many questions:

  • Why a superhero squirrel? Does the squirrel represent something? And how does that relate to the mundane superhero Flora loves? What is the connection with The Amazing Incandesto? And what is with Dr. Meescham's ability to fix everything? ...on her horse hair couch?? Is she/it also a superhero?
  • There's a theme of love happening here somewhere...Flora wanting love from her mom...her mom seeming to love the lamp more...but in the end we find out she really does love Flora more than the lamp...William goes blind after his mom remarries a man who doesn't respect William Spiver and calls him Billy (interesting that it's important to him to be called by his first AND last name...the name his father would have given him) For his step-father to disrespect that was the ultimate betrayal and of course, justifies putting his vehicle in a pond...and it isn't until William Spiver finally talks about this episode that he can see again. He can "see" again. Then there's the love Dr Meescham feels for her dead husband. And Flora's love for Ulysses, and Ulysses' love for's easy and instant. I think all these people really need to read The Five Love Languages!
  • Words! Words are very important in this book. Malfeasance. Treacle. Incandesto. Poetry. William Spiver helping Phyllis Buckman find just the right words. Words floating above people's heads.
  • Fitting in. Being a misfit. many funny people in this book. Flora's mother is concerned she's a misfit. Flora's father is odd. Flora's mother is odd. Their relationship is broken. Then there is the squid in the picture...lonely...ugly....naturally the way he is.
  • Good versus evil. Physllis Buckman = arch nemesis. William Spiver's step-father seems evil to William. Ulysses brings about good. Then there's the squid in the picture....\
  • Are Flora and her father, and maybe even William Spiver austic??
  • Is it called Illuminated Adventures because all these crazy escapades actually bring light to their lives? Flora finds out her mother does love her. William is able to deal with his mother's remarriage. Anyone else see the light??

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