Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Bridge to Terabithia"

by Katherine Paterson, YR, 1972, 128p, rating=2.5
1978 Newbery Award Winner

The story starts out simply enough: Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade--he wants it so bad he can taste it. He's been practicing all summer, running in the fields around his farmhouse until he collapses in a sweat. Then a tomboy named Leslie Burke moves into the farmhouse next door and changes his life forever. Not only does Leslie not look or act like any girls Jess knows, but she also turns out to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. After getting over the shock and humiliation of being beaten by a girl, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay.
Despite their superficial differences, it's clear that Jess and Leslie are soul mates. The two create a secret kingdom in the woods named Terabithia, where the only way to get into the castle is by swinging out over a gully on an enchanted rope. Here they reign as king and queen, fighting off imaginary giants and the walking dead, sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against the schoolmates who tease them. Jess and Leslie find solace in the sanctuary of Terabithia until a tragedy strikes and the two are separated forever. In a style that is both plain and powerful, Katherine Paterson's characters will stir your heart and put a lump in your throat. (Goodreads)

I had not seen the movie version nor really knew anything about this book (I know, I need to get out more).  So I'm reading along and BAM! when Jesse gets back from his date (I'll get to that in a minute), he was told that Leslie died.  I'm thinking, what the...!  I must have read that wrong.  Like Jesse I could not accept her death.  I too was thinking she'd pop up and say, psyche! (ok, maybe a different term in her time).  But no, she really was dead.  I'm totally in shock!  I couldn't get over it.  Anyway, the story moved along and ended with a sweet bond between Jess and his younger sister May Belle at the secret imaginary kingdom, Terabithia, that Jesse and Leslie created. 

Okay, so back to that date.  Miss Edmunds, a music teacher, got bored one day so she invites Jesse to go to the Smithsonian Museum with her and they go.  Whoa!  Someone explain that to me.  Even to have a reason for Leslie to go to Terabithia alone, I don't see why that was thrown in.  A different event could have been used to lure Jesse out of that meeting with Leslie.  Anyway, I just thought that date was out on left field ...inappropriate!

There was a lot of issues going on in this little book ... parents with their children, social status, sibling antics, classmate rivalry, teacher bashing, dealing with death, imagination, etc.  This had the makings of a heart wrenching tale but I was too much in shock to enjoy the death lessons, playful Narnia-like adventures, and sweet ending.  That date and the sudden death turned my brain and things just went on standstill for me.  I know people die and even kids, but seriously this particular case put me at a stupor.  I really really wanted Leslie to jump out of the bushes and yell, psyche!


  1. Yeah, the ending did seem quite "out there". I had a hard time reconciling myself with it as well. However, I understand that there are blessings that come from tribulation and perhaps it is not up to us to define what tribulation is to happen. The writer took a risk and it played out reasonably well, if not just a bit disjointed.


  2. I haven't read this one, but it seems strange, lol!

    here's my review of catching jordan! stop by?!


Thank you for taking the time to write a comment. You are fabulous! :)

Template by:
Free Blog Templates