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FF6633: orphans going home along the Blue Highway: 01/11/19

FF6633: orphans going home along the Blue Highway

Next in the orphan as traveler neighborhood of the road narrative spectrum is the orphan who goes home (or leaves home) via a Blue Highway. At the moment only one book I've read fits this category but I shall endeavor to extrapolate other possible narratives. The book in question is Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (2018).

In Louisiana's case, she is unexpectedly leaving home when her grandmother begins a middle of the night drive from Florida to Georgia. The remainder of the novel is the story of how she finds a new home and a new family when the woman she believes is her grandmother abandons her.

Her situation is firmly grounded in realism. It's historical fiction set in the mid 1970s and in a real state. Louisiana's "orphan magic" isn't as extraordinary as some orphans I've discussed so far. Hers lies in the realm of persuasion, something she learned from her "grandmother."

But the narrative could lead to a more fantastic destination. For example, Dorothy in the Road to Oz could be in this category if she were walking back to Kansas along the same road she took to the Emerald City, and if she didn't take any short cuts through cornfields.

More broadly speaking, this category can be about an orphan either trying to return home or trying to find a new home. As in Louisiana's case, she's doing both. A return to home could be from any location, from an alternate world, to a house down the street. There just needs to be a barrier to that return: an antagonist, a literal barrier (being kidnapped, trapped, lost), or one of distance (being far from home, being in an alternate dimension, etc). The way home, no matter how fantastic the starting point is, must be reachable by a Blue Highway — a well defined road that isn't as straightforward as either an Intestate or a railroad.

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