Confession time: I'm really not a fan of animal stories. I do like animals and adore my dog. I just don't really like books about animals. They're generally too sappy for my taste. [You fall in love with a sweet animal and then something tragic happens. My emotions can't handle that.] I've known about this book (and the movie) for a while but never had any interest in reading it. After I fell in love with DiCamillo's other books I thought I should give this a shot.Okay, I was wrong. Turns out I do enjoy animal stories (when they're done right). This was a very sweet story. I think I liked that the story was more of a coming of age story with a dog sidekick rather than strictly an animal story. Opal finally starts to fit in and make friends in Florida. Winn-Dixie was the big reason behind it. She starts to come to terms with the fact that her mother isn't coming back. In a lot of ways she reminded me of a younger version of Sal, from Walk Two Moons. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a parent leave but she handled it very well considering the circumstances.Like I said, the story is very sweet. Honestly it was a bit too sweet for my normal taste but I needed a book to make me smile this much. Things don't work out perfectly but it's nice to see it happen occasionally. I was happy things worked out for Opal and Winn-Dixie. I guess I didn't know how invested I was until things almost turned out poorly. I was surprised at how funny this book was! Normally I don't laugh or giggle when reading but I was audibly giggling with reading this (my mom called me out on it).I'm so happy this book didn't turn out the way I thought it was going to. I thought it was going to take a turn for the depressing. [That's usually how animal books go.] This book takes the depressing (the bad things that happen during life) and moves it towards the good (life is hard but when you're surrounded by good people it makes things a bit smoother). Sappy? Oh most definitely. But you know what? Everyone needs a little light in their life.The bottom line? Yet another charming book from Miss DiCamillo. Great for anyone looking for a feel good, make you chuckle book.