Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dancing in Cadillac Light

Holt, K. (2001). Dancing in Cadillac light. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

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Have you ever felt like the odd one out? This is how Jaynell, the main character in the story felt. Her momma once said that Jesus had his work cut out for him with her. Jaynell’s response was, “I reckon she was right.” Jaynell couldn’t care less about playing with other children. For the most part, she wanted to stay with the adults and hear all the drama going on. In the story Jaynell said “It seemed like I was always being told to leave just when I was about to hear something important.” Jaynell loved nature and when she found out that her summer job was to keep an eye on Grandpap, she couldn’t have been happier. Grandpap and Jaynell traveled together all summer. Grandpap even bought a brand new, shiny Cadillac, but Jaynell was certain that Grandpap was not crazy as everyone else seemed to think. After a life changing event, Jaynell learns so much and becomes very appreciative of the small things in life. When Jaynell’s perspectives changed, she said, “It hardly bothered me at all because of the Cadillac.” The Cadillac mentioned in the title has a strong symbolic meaning in this story. What is so great about this Cadillac? To find out the Cadillac’s significance, you must read Dancing in Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt.

More detailed book report

The main characters in this book include Jaynell, her sister Racine, and their parents, Lilly Belle and Willie Pickens, Loveda, Uncle Floyd, Grandpap, Sweet Adeline, and Little Floyd. The story takes place in a little town called Moon in Texas, on Cypress Rd. Jaynell is a little girl who is so much different from others in her family. Her sister Racine is a "girly" girl who desires to become a dancer, while Jaynell loves nature and appreciates the small things in life. Jaynell's family allows their grandpap to come live with them one summer. Jaynell's aunt Loveda thinks that Grandpap is losing his mind, but Jaynell doesn't believe it. As a summer job, Jaynell's dad gives her a summer job that consists of keeping an eye on Grandpap. Jaynell thinks this job sounds great, considering she loves the outdoors. Jaynell thinks, "Wow, I can be a spy!" During this particular summer, Jaynell and Grandpap go on many adventures together, and their relationship becomes very close, like it was in the past. Grandpap does a few things in the story that others would consider "crazy," but Jaynell refuses to believe it. After a day on the lake in a boat, Grandpap gets lost. Jaynell ends up finding the way back, because of what her Grandpap had taught her about directions. After finding way back, Jaynell says, "It's a good thing you knew how to find your way back, Grandpap. You know that lake like the back of your hand. Yesiree you do." I feel that this was Jaynell's way of telling herself that her grandfather hadn't lost his mind. No matter what, she wanted to believe that he was still the way he used to be.

Jaynell considers herself a selfish person after all she experiences in this book. The Pickens family is a poor family, who Jaynell can't seem to accept. Lilly Belle loves Jaynell, but she can't understand why she is so nice to her and why this family appreciates the smallest things in life. Throughout the story, Jaynell learns so much about her grandfather, and their relationship as well as the Cadillac changes Jaynell for the better.

The Cadillac that is referred to in the title and on the illustration on the title page has a strong symbolic meaning. Who does this Cadillac belong to? How does this Cadillac change Jaynell? At the beginning of the story, Jaynell is annoyed by Lily Belle, but as the story progresses, this changes. "It hardly bothered me at all because of the Cadillac." These were Jaynell's words toward the end of the book. To find out the significance of the Cadillac, you must read Dancing in Cadillac Light.

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