Book Review: Bridge to Terabithia

I got a free copy of the Teacher’s Edition of Bridge to Terabithia (1977) by Katherine Paterson at the ALA Conference exhibition hall.  I’d never heard of the book prior to the release of the movie this year, which is surprising since the 1977 release date puts it right in my childhood.  Then again I didn’t read children’s books as a child.

The narrative style and dialog are bit hokey and distracting in their hee-haw Southern parody.  Other than that I like this book.  I like the friendship between a boy and a girl, more unusual then than now.  I like the theme of the outsiders.  I like how they create an imaginary world, their battles and pageantry there are in their minds not in the story (which leaves room for imagination in the minds of the reader).  I especially like the very honest and true-to-life examination of grief when someone close to you dies.

The one thing I didn’t get was why the teacher took Jess to Washington to visit museums.  That’s kind of creepy in a way.  I thought maybe she knew about Leslie’s death and wanted to give Jess a good memory, but it’s never explained in the book.  Anyone know?

Memorable Passage

Sometimes like the Barbie doll you need to give people something that’s for them, not just something that makes you feel good giving it (p. 160).