Monday, May 21, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson
Published: Harper Collins, 1996
Pages: 143

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

I never read this book as a child, but I definitely should have.  I have been meaning to read this for a very long time and I finally took the chance to read it this month.  I saw the movie once when it first came out and I remember loving it, however sad the story.  This story is magical in any medium.

Jess Aarons knew two things about life.  1) He liked to draw and 2) his father didn't approve.  He was content to fly under the radar at school and try to fit in at home where he is surrounded by women.  When Leslie Burke moved into town, she changed Jess's life forever.  With the power of imagination, Leslie and Jess created the beautiful kingdom of Terabithia where they would protect and rule.  This powerful world shares with him the importance of friendship and family.

All the characters were expertly developed, in fact I related to quite a few of them at different points in the novel.  There is a subtle elegance to the way the characters interact with each other, especially Leslie and Jess.  Leslie imagination is an entire character in and of itself, from her we get the beginnings of Terabithia.  She allows the reader to see what she sees and brings out the imagination in each reader.

The relationship between Jess and May Belle is one of my favorite relationships in the book.  Jess loves his little sister in a way that is obvious through his interactions with her.  Yes, she is just a little sister but sometimes he treats more like a friend than a nuisance.  Her dedication to Jess is very realistic and entertaining to read; as a little sister I remember feeling a little like May Belle at some points in my life.

There is a spirit about this novel that draws the reader in, that makes you want to continue reading, that makes you cry out at injustice and cheer with excitement.  This novel touches the reader, leaving a lasting effect.  This is a children's book, but anyone can read it.  In fact, I encourage everyone to read this novel.

Katherine Paterson eloquently addresses difficult topics in ways that make it assessable to anyone reading it, whether it be a child or an adult.  She does not dumb down her ideas, instead they are poignant and assessable to anyone.

Leslie and Jess inspire imagination in those that read this story.  I will never forget their story, and will continue to imagine as they did.

Stars: 5/5


 “Set in contemporary rural America, the story is one of remarkable richness and depth, beautifully written.”
        - The Horn Book

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