Because of Winn-Dixie

( 912 )

Overview

Kate DiCamillo’s beloved, best-selling debut novel is now available in a paperback digest edition.

Kate DiCamillo’s fi rst published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this...

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Overview

Kate DiCamillo’s beloved, best-selling debut novel is now available in a paperback digest edition.

Kate DiCamillo’s fi rst published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans.

Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
India Opal Buloni, called Opal by the people who know her best, thought love walked out on her when her mother left seven years ago. Ever since, this young girl has waited for her mother's return, questioning her father about this woman, now a stranger, so that she would recognize her when she came back. But in waiting, the heroine of Kate DiCamillo's heartfelt debut story, Because of Winn-Dixie, learns valuable lessons about friendship, love, and understanding.

The summer ten-year-old Opal and her father move to Naomi, Florida, is the same summer Opal adopts Winn-Dixie, the scrappy dog abandoned in the town grocery store. Her canine pal, with a lively spirit matching its new owner, accompanies Opal as she meets new people. One afternoon Winn-Dixie wanders off, and Opal finds her dog snacking on peanut butter at the house of the woman deemed a witch by Opal's bothersome playmates. To her surprise, this "witch" is actually Gloria Dump who has wrinkly old skin and wears a big floppy hat adorned with printed flowers. In their regular visits, Opal reads Gone with the Wind to Gloria, whose eyes have weakened with age, and tells her about her latest adventures. In turn, this "witch" acts as a mother-figure to Opal, teaching her about being tolerant of others and their mistakes.

Opal also befriends the very wealthy librarian Miss Franny Block, who shares great stories about her past, including a tale about her great-grandfather, whose family members died while he fought for the South in the Civil War. Grief-stricken after his return from battle, he decided he wanted to live the remainder of his life filled with sweetness. Thus, he invented Littmus Lozenge candies that tasted like a combination of rootbeer and strawberry with a secret ingredient mixed in -- sorrow. In Because of Winn-Dixie, these candies symbolize that even though life sometimes deals people a bit of sadness, there is always so much to appreciate.

This lesson initially escapes Opal, as she bemoans the loss of her mother. But over time, Opal makes new friends, and her days become increasingly sweet. She finds charm in quiet Otis, a former jailbird and now pet-shop worker whose lyrical music touches all of the animals in the shop. She reaches out to the pinch-faced Amanda who has experienced a deep tragedy at a young age. And she learns to tolerate the bothersome Dewberry brothers who tease her (as many boys do when they have fond feelings toward a girl).

Enveloped by the security that her new community brings, Opal finally appreciates life's treasures and begins to accept that her mother is never coming back. By the end of Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal truly understands Gloria has been telling her all along: "...[Y]ou can't hold on to anything. ...[Y]ou can only love what you've got while you've got it." The spirit of DiCamillo's delightful story about Opal echoes long after the last page has been read.

--Soozan Baxter

From the Publisher
"Take one disarmingly engaging protagonist and put her in the company of a tenderly rendered canine and you've got yourself a recipe for the best kind of down-home literary treat. Kate DiCamillo's voice in Because of Winn-Dixie should carry from the steamy, sultry pockets of Florida clear across the miles to enchant young readers everywhere." — Karen Hesse, author of the Newbery-award winner Out of the Dust
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
DiCamillo's debut novel, a 2001 Newbery Honor Book, percolates with heartfelt emotion and eccentric Southern color as superbly performed by Tony Award-winning actress Jones. Ten-year-old Opal, lonely in the Florida town where she has just moved with her preacher father, instantly takes a shine to a scraggly stray dog she encounters in the local Winn-Dixie supermarket. The pooch, named for their meeting place, becomes a trusted companion with whom Opal can share her thoughts and fears, and her hurt, confused feelings about the mother who left the family when Opal was three. Winn-Dixie is soon helping Opal in other ways, too. The dog's "smile" and sweet temperament act as ice breakers that allow Opal to meet a whole new group of friends who grow to be an unusual extended family. Jones imbues her depiction of Opal with a tone of youthful, hopeful wonder and skillfully transforms her voice to distinguish the other older, life-weathered characters. A Tennessee native, she never sounds hokey as she adopts a Southern accent, and she effortlessly slips into a compelling storytelling rhythm. This is a top-notch treatment of an award-winning tale. Ages 8-up. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Imagine naming a dog "Winn-Dixie" after the grocery store. Your own name causes kids to mock you "Lunch Meat!" That partly describes India Opal Buloni, a preacher's daughter, who tells us about her first summer in Naomi, Florida. Opal adopts the lovable, mangy dog whose personality changes her life and the lives of the quirky characters in this rural community. The kids think Gloria Dump is a witch but Opal discovers a kind, wrinkled old lady with bad eyesight who wins her friendship when she says, "Since I don't see so well, why don't you tell me everything about yourself so I can see you with my heart." Opal couldn't be happier. "I'd been waiting for a long time to tell some person everything about me, I did." A splendid story with heart, humor and hope. This is Newbery quality. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
From The Critics
The quick beginning, an essential feature of well-written children's books, carries Because of Winn-Dixie forward quite effectively. The stage is set in the first sentence: "My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes, and I came back with a dog." Ten-year-old Opal then proceeds to tell the funny story of a stray dog found in the produce department of the Winn-Dixie grocery store, where she calls him as if he were her own in order to save him from the pound. Because of Winn-Dixie is indeed a dog story, but it is also the story of a child, lonely yet resourceful, who has just recently moved to Naomi, Florida, with her father. It is the story of a motherless child, who longs for the love and comfort that a mother could provide. It is the story of a character finding her way in the world, a character seemingly tentative, yet as starkly defined as her red hair and the big, ugly, smiling stray dog she takes home, washes, and makes her own. And it is the story of Opal's developing friendships with distinctive, well-drawn characters—old Gloria Dump, who is almost blind; the librarian, Miss Franny Block; shy Otis at the pet store—encounters made possible, one way or another, because of the dog, Winn-Dixie. In twenty-six short chapters, DiCamillo has crafted a fine, economical story told in the authentic voice of a child, using regional language and vivid description in a clear, straightforward way. There is immediacy of feeling in this book, perfectly expressing the secret inner life that every child knows. Because of her resourcefulness, demonstrated in the openingchapter and throughout the book at every turn, Opal develops and grows as a character, in both her inner and her outer life. All of this is accomplished through a story worth telling. Children will enjoy Opal's abiding humor and Winn-Dixie's disarming and endearing ways, and the funny and important things that happen when the two of them get together. 2000, Candlewick, $15.99. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Kathie Krieger Cerra — The Five Owls, November/December 2000 (Vol. 15 No. 2)
From The Critics
When ten-year-old Opeal Buloni and her preacher father moved to Naomi, Florida, she adopts a dog and names him Winn-Dixie (after the supermarket where they met). Opal was 3 when her mother left the family. Her father won't speak of her mother. The young girl is lonely, but with the help of her friendly dog, she makes new friends and discovers that life still has a great deal to offer both she and her father. Superb narration by Cherry Jones.
Esme R. Codell
This complicated and wonderful story is not so much about a dog as it is about friendship and loving what you got while you got it.
Bookbag Magazine
Esmé Raji Codell
This complicated and wonderful story is not so much about a dog as it is about friendship and loving what you got while you got it.
Bookbag Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal's mama left when she was only three, and her father, "the preacher," is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who "looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain." But, this dog had a grin "so big that it made him sneeze." And, as Opal says, "It's hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor." Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she's been the librarian ever since. Then, there's nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he's let out of their cages in the pet store. Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow and hope. And, it's funny, too. A real gem. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763644321
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/10/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 10,325
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is the author of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, which won the Newbery Medal; THE TIGER RISING, a National Book Award Finalist; THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, winner of a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award; six tales starring the inimitable Mercy Watson; and the NEW YOURK TIMES best-selling picture book GREAT JOY. She lives in Minneapolis.

Biography

Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, moved to Florida's warmer climate when she was five years old, and landed in Minneapolis in her 20s.

While working at a children's bookstore, DiCamillo wrote her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). It was inspired by one of the worst winters in Minnesota, when she became homesick for Florida after overhearing a little girl with a southern accent. One thing led to another, and soon DiCamillo had created the voice of Opal Buloni, a resilient ten-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her father. Opal's mother abandoned the family when she was three years old, and her father has a hard time explaining why.

Thoug her father is busy and she has no friends, Opal's life takes a turn for the better when she adopts a fun-loving stray dog, Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him, out in the parking lot). With Winn-Dixie as her guide, Opal makes friends with the eccentric people of her new town and even convinces her father to talk about her mother. Through Opal, readers are given a gift: a funny and heartrending story of how one girl's spirit can change her life and others'. Critics loved the book as much as readers, and in 2001, Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book.

DiCamillo's second novel, The Tiger Rising (2001), also deals with the importance of friendships, families, and making changes. Twelve-year-old Rob Horton and his father are dealing with grief, anger, and isolation after moving to Lister, Florida, six months after Rob's mother succumbs to cancer. Rob's father has a job at a motel (where they both also live), but it barely pays the bills. Struggling through the loss of his mother, Rob stifles his many confusing emotions as he battles bullies at his new school, worries about a rash on his legs, and copes with living in poverty.

In many ways, The Tiger Rising is a darker, more challenging story than Because of Winn-Dixie, but there is a similar light of deliverance in this beautiful novel: the healing power of friendship. Two meetings change Rob's life. First, he encounters a caged lion in the woods. Shortly thereafter he meets Sistine, who has recently moved to Lister after her parents' divorce. Sistine and Rob are polar opposites -- she stands up to the school bullies and lets out every bit of her anger at her parents' divorce and her relocation. Through Sistine, Rob recognizes himself in the caged lion, and the story of how the two children free the beast is one of the most engaging reads in contemporary young adult fiction. With the lion free, Rob is free to grieve the loss of his mother and move on with his bittersweet new life in Lister. A National Book Award finalist, The Tiger Rising is hard to put down as it overflows with raw, engaging emotion.

In 2003, DiCamillo's third novel, The Tale of Despereaux, was released to the delight of readers and critics alike. This odd but enthralling fairy tale also touches on some of the topics from her first two novels -- parental abandonment and finding the courage to be yourself. The hero, Despereaux Tilling, is a mouse who has always been different from the rest of his family, and to make matters worse, he has broken a serious rule: interacting with humans, particularly Princess Pea, who captures his heart. When Despereaux finds himself in trouble with the mouse community, he is saddened to learn that his father will not defend him. Characters in the tale are Princess Pea, whose mother died after seeing a rat in her soup; King Pea, who, in his grief, declares that no soup may be served anywhere in the kingdom; Miggery Sow, a servant girl who dreams of being a princess after being sold into servitude by her father after her mother dies; and Roscuro, a villainous rat with a curious soup obsession.

The story of how the characters' paths cross makes The Tale of Despereaux an adventurous read, reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales. In the spirit of love and forgiveness, Despereaux changes everyone's life, including his own. As the unnamed, witty narrator of the novel tells us, "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." Kate DiCamillo's limitless imagination and her talent for emotional storytelling earned her one of the most prestigious honors a children's author can receive -- in 2004, she was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Good To Know

DiCamillo wrote The Tale of Despereaux for a friend's son, who had asked her to write a story for him about a hero with large ears.

In our interview, DiCamillo shared some other fun facts with us: :

"I can't cook and I'm always on the lookout for a free meal."

"I love dogs and I'm an aunt to a very bad dog named Henry."

"My first job was at McDonald's. I was overjoyed when I got a nickel raise."

"I'm a pretty boring person. I like reading. I like eating dinner out with friends. I like walking Henry. And I like to laugh."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 25, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog. This is what happened: I walked into the produce section of the Winn-Dixie grocery store to pick out my two tomatoes and I almost bumped right into the store manager. He was standing there all red-faced, screaming and waving his arms around.

"Who let a dog in here?" he kept on shouting. "Who let a dirty dog in here?"
At first, I didn’t see a dog. There were just a lot of vegetables rolling around on the floor, tomatoes and onions and green peppers. And there was what seemed like a whole army of Winn-Dixie employees running around waving their arms just the same way the store manager was waving his.

And then the dog came running around the corner. He was a big dog. And ugly. And he looked like he was having a real good time. His tongue was hanging out and he was wagging his tail. He skidded to a stop and smiled right at me. I had never before in my life seen a dog smile, but that is what he did. He pulled back his lips and showed me all his teeth. Then he wagged his tail so hard that he knocked some oranges off a display, and they went rolling everywhere, mixing in with the tomatoes and onions and green peppers.

The manager screamed, "Somebody grab that dog!"

The dog went running over to the manager, wagging his tail and smiling. He stood up on his hind legs. You could tell that all he wanted to do was get face to face with the manager and thank him for the good time he was having in the produce department, but somehow he ended up knocking the manager over. And the manager must have been having a bad day, because lying there on the floor, right in front of everybody, he started to cry. The dog leaned over him, real concerned, and licked his face.

"Please," said the manager. "Somebody call the pound."

"Wait a minute!" I hollered. "That’s my dog. Don’t call the pound."

All the Winn-Dixie employees turned aroundand looked at me, and I knew I had done something big. And maybe stupid, too. But I couldn’t help it. I
couldn’t let that dog go to the pound.

"Here, boy," I said.

The dog stopped licking the manager’s face and put his ears up in the air and looked at me, like he was trying to remember where he knew me from.

"Here, boy," I said again. And then I figured that the dog was probably just like everybody else in the world, that he would want to get called by a name, only I didn’t know what his name was, so I just said the first thing that came into my head. I said, "Here, Winn-Dixie."

And that dog came trotting over to me just like he had been doing it his whole life.

The manager sat up and gave me a hard stare, like maybe I was making fun of him.

"It’s his name," I said. "Honest."

The manager said, "Don’t you know not to bring a dog into a grocery store?"

"Yes sir," I told him. "He got in by mistake. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.

"Come on, Winn-Dixie," I said to the dog.

I started walking and he followed along behindme as I went out of the produce department and down the cereal aisle and past all the cashiers and out the door.

Once we were safe outside, I checked him over real careful and he didn’t look that good. He was big, but skinny; you could see his ribs. And there were bald patches all over him, places where he didn’t have any fur at all. Mostly, he looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.

"You’re a mess," I told him. "I bet you don’t belong to anybody."

He smiled at me. He did that thing again, where he pulled back his lips and showed me his teeth. He smiled so big that it made him sneeze. It was like he was saying, "I know I’m a mess. Isn’t it funny?"

It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.

"Come on," I told him. "Let’s see what the preacher has to say about you."

And the two of us, me and Winn-Dixie, started walking home.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 912 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(706)

4 Star

(112)

3 Star

(38)

2 Star

(21)

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(35)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 915 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    I LOVE IT

    Because of Winn-dixie was one of the best books i ever read because of how close the girl and the dog were. The dog [winn-dixie] was Opals only friend and they had a loving friendship from the moment the saw each other. This book really touched me and it also made me laugh so hard at times. I really recommend it to everyone. It changed my life.

    78 out of 91 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    Because of Winn-Dixie

    I think that this book is an amazing and outstanding novel by Kate DiCamillo. I totally recommend it, and have read it at least half a dozen times.Kate DiCamillo is an awesome author herself, and has written many honored novels, but I find that overal, Because of Winn-Dixie is her most compelling and mind-boggling book ever. I love this book and recommend it to anyone.

    50 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    best book

    This was one of the best book i have ever read in my life!!!!!!!!!
    1) because it was so funny
    2) it's was a book for people who love animals
    And
    3)it was very heart warming

    44 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Because Of Winn Dixie

    I read this book for the first time when I was in fourth grade. I love how easy it is to read yet It is not too easy for me to read now. The characters make me smile everytime I read it. The movie is also very good and compliments the book very well. Because of Winn-Dixie holds a very good message for all ages. Very good story.

    35 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Blank

    Sad but heartfelt tale. A very good book.

    28 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Winn Dixie

    Winn Dixie is a great book for children. My son read it in class, and he's been repeatedly reading it. I recommend it.

    28 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Great for 10 to 13

    When i read it i was touched it was really insayering too. If you like dogs and surprises you will love this book . Coming from a 10 year old.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    Beacuse of Winn-Dixie

    I think this book is one of the best books i have read ina while .it is a nice/absorbing story . and its funny as well !!!

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    This book was very good.

    I read the book Because of Winn-Dixie. I like this book alot. The reason why i wanted to read this book is because it reminded me of myself. I recommend this book to people who like dogs. This book is about a girl finding a dog and they become best friends.

    19 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Because of Winn Dixie

    This book is about a girl named Opal who finds a dog. It is a really great book. And the setting is in a small town. And her dad is a preacher. Opal wants to keep Winn Dixie but the preacher doesn't want a dog. Will the preacher let the dog stay? I recommend this book to a lot of people because it is a great book.
    by Austin

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Because of Winn-Dixie

    I love this book. It shows good characters that you'll come to know and love. A touching story of friendship, Because of Winn-Dixie deserves 11 stars. I hope you enjoy it. And I recomend the movie too. So you can relive the book again.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Natalie Martinez

    As I read beacuse of whin dixie i feel it is a great book about whin dixi opal and the preacher. And i feel evrybody who has a chance should read it. It is also simular to shilo a story about a boy and a dog the only difrence is the dog isint his. So read it if you can.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Colten T. Holley

    This is a great book! You should read it!!!!!!!!!!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Heartbreaking and emotional but a must red

    I loved it. It was actually the first real chapter i ever read in 1st grade and i understood it so i would reccomend this book to 1st through7th grade levels.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    Best book ever <3

    It was a great book so recomend it

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Best Sample Ever Best Book Ever

    When I read the sample of the book it was sooooooo awsome. I definitly wanted to buy this book. Also it has a really good begining. And if you like dogs than this is a perfect book for you.I LOVE THIS BOOK.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    *

    *****

    6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    HEART POUNDING DRAMA/COMEDY

    In class a couple yrs ago and i still re-read the book im on my 13 time re-reading it.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Hmm

    I disliked this book it was pretty boring. Not my favorite book.

    6 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    HORRIBLE

    I was asinde this book and it wasbad.

    5 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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