Baby Lincoln has always yielded to her older sister, Eugenia, but now it is time to take a stand.
They are gray-haired adults, but Eugenia rules the Lincoln roost, making all decisions. She gives orders and micromanages Baby’s every endeavor. The pattern was established from Baby’s earliest childhood, when Eugenia refused to call her by her actual, given name. One day Baby just says, “No,” and embarks on a “necessary journey” of discovery. Stella, a young black neighbor, helps the elderly white woman buy a train ticket to Fluxom. The journey proves to be life-changing for Baby. Interacting with her fellow passengers gives her the opportunity to re-evaluate and discover her own identity and worth. She responds to her real name, Lucille, remembers how to laugh and to use her imagination, and learns that she can calm a child’s fears, as Eugenia had once done for her. She is ready to go home, and when Eugenia and Stella meet her in Fluxom, Eugenia, albeit reluctantly and with prompting, admits that she missed Baby desperately. DiCamillo’s gentle picaresque is told with tender humor in brief descriptive sentences that totally avoid high drama and histrionics. The third-person narration is unintrusive, allowing readers to respond to this grown-up’s journey of self-discovery along with her and perhaps to explore their own sibling relationships as well.
A loving and sweet addition to the Deckawoo Drive series. (Fiction. 7-10)