Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Harper Entertainment, 1977
Fiction (Children's); 191 pgs
Rating: (Very Good)
First Sentence: Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity—Good.
Reason for Reading: Kris' and Booklogged's reviews of this book spurred me on to finally pick this one up. My husband’s assurance that I would like it was the added encouragement I needed. This is my final selection for the Book to Movie Challenge, my second for the 2nds Challenge, and my fourth for the Saturday Review of Books Challenge.
Comments: It has been many years since I last cracked open a book by Katherine Paterson. Jacob, Have I Loved was one of my favorites growing up (I still have my copy sitting on the shelf today). I had heard of Bridge to Terabithia later in my life but never realized it was by the same author as that childhood favorite until recently.
Ten-year-old Jesse Aarons spent the summer before his 5th grade year practicing running. He is determined to be the fastest runner, not only in his class but of the entire lower grades. He wants to be known as more than just the boy who likes to draw, something most of the people in his life, including many of the grown ups do not take seriously. He comes from a somewhat poor family, one that struggles and survives as best they can. He is the only boy among many sisters and often feels that he carries the brunt of the household responsibilities as a result.
One day while he is out running, he meets the new girl in town, Leslie Burke. Her family moved to the country from the suburbs, seeking out a more simple life. The fact that Leslie’s family has money as well as Leslie’s manner and dress mark her as an instant outsider. The two inevitably become friends, each finding in the other something that they had been longing for. One fall day, the two friends venture into the woods and invent a magical kingdom they call Terabithia, letting their imaginations soar. It is a place where they can escape the real world and do just about anything they set their imaginations to.
When tragedy strikes, I could not stop the tears from falling. The story, while sad, still remains hopeful. It is a simple story, uncomplicated, and very much one for children. I can see why so many, young and old, love this book. It is a story of friendship and love, of imagination and stepping outside of oneself and taking risks. The magic of this book can be found in the hearts of the characters.
Favorite Parts: My favorite part was when Jess stood up to Gary the first day of the races. Although his intentions may not have been pure, his inclusion of Leslie was a shining moment, and the beginning of a friendship.
I was also very proud of Jess and the way he worked out his gift giving priorities that year for the Christmas holiday. He only had a dollar to spend, but his gift choices were perfect and he made two deserving girls very happy.
Swing by the author's website for more information about her and her books.