I loved reading this book. I cannot praise Kate DiCamillo’s talent enough for weaving such details into a story and creating such beautiful characters. Edward Tulane starts out as the perfect little self-centered porcelain bunny rabbit. At the beginning his word is just so… exact. But Pellegrina sees that he disappoints — a little girl’s bunny rabbit should love that little girl just as much as she loves him. But Edward doesn’t love anyone… he cares only about himself. So he must go out into the world… his heart must be broken… he must suffer and constantly leave without saying goodbye… only then, does he learn to love.
Those stars which he finds so comforting at the beginning of the story, don’t care the slightest bit about him when he’s out alone in a field of crows! “I have been loved,” poor little Edward cries pathetically into the night… “So?” is the stars’ reply. It’s quite befitting that the book opens with a quote from “The Testing Tree,” by Stanley Kunitz: “The heart breaks and breaks / and lives by breaking. / It is necessary to go / through dark and deeper dark / and not to turn.” Edward’s heart learns to break again and again — he loses Abilene when he falls overboard, he loses Nellie when he is thrown into the garbage by her daughter, he loses Bull and Lucy when they are thrown off the train, he loses Sara Ruth when she dies, and he loses Bryce who loves him so much he cannot leave him a broken heap of porcelain…
Oh, Edward’s heart does indeed break and break — and as a reader, my heart broke with him. But it’s only through breaking that Edward learns to live and to love and to appreciate those around him. Do we truly only learn through loss? Is it only suffering that shapes the best of us? Is it the stumbles and mistakes and heartbreaks that makes us lovably imperfect?
In any case, I am happy this little bunny, scrapes and all, found his way home again.