Happy Friday, y’all!
I hope you have a great Halloween and stayed warm with lots of treats. I’m scheduling this review to come out today and hope you enjoy a little review to start this November.
Today I am reviewing Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech–winner of the 1995 Newbery Medal. I bought this book at a local used bookstore during the summer and read it in September. I’m not usually this behind on reviews, but if you remember, I have been writing reviews of new releases right away so I’m kind of behind and ahead. Haha!
I have heard of this novel for years. I think I had friends and siblings read it for school growing up but I never had it assigned. I’m not sure what I expected (perhaps a book about American Indians?) but this book surprised me and kept me guessing through the whole ride.
- This book was so interesting. It reminded me of my experience reading When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead which also won the Newbery nearly 20 years later. The story is full of twists and turns and lots of details are picked up along the way. We don’t know the full story until the very end.
- I loved how much this book made me think after finishing it. There are so many interesting connections and ideas in this one. I found the themes fascinating: loss, family, being who you are, accepting flaws in others, communication, love, and more.
- I’m still not sure how many stars to give this book. Some things I loved and some things I had a hard time with. We’ll see where I end up.
According to Goodreads, ““How about a story? Spin us a yarn.”
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. “I could tell you an extensively strange story,” I warned.
“Oh, good!” Gram said. “Delicious!”
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold — the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.”
My favorite element in this story is the multiple, interwoven timelines that create one fascinating story. I really enjoyed how we piece together Sal’s story through her drive with her grandparents, her experiences in Kentucky with her mother, and her experiences with Phoebe in Ohio. Through each of these parts, we start to understand why Sal is the way she is and why she cares so deeply about her mother. Some timelines are more clearly connected than others. For example, the similarities between Sal’s mother’s story and Phoebe’s mother’s story are subtle and well written. Those very clever intricacies created a contrast between how each girl reacted to her mother’s disappearance. And I think I could read this book several more times and still find new hints and details along the way.
The characters and their connections to each other were well developed and clever. Well done, Sharon Creech! I think my favorite characters are Gram and Gramps. They are fantastic, quirky, loyal and I love basically everything about them. Learning more about their lives together and the crazy things they do for each other and for Sal were a lot of fun to read. Huzza Huzza! The other highlight character of this novel for me was Sal. Sal is a lovely narrator. She is candid, descriptive, and sees the world in such simply profound ways. Her determination to find her mother and bring her home is inspiring.
There were so many fascinating details, compelling themes and intriguing characters in this novel, yet I just didn’t love it. I think mostly because of my own experiences as a mother and wife. Why does Sal’s mother need to leave her family to heal after her trauma? I just can’t get behind that. Perhaps it’s because I am also a mother and have experienced trauma, but I just felt wrong about that whole scenario. She should have turned to her husband and child instead of away from them. Similarly, I was disappointed with Phoebe’s mother and how she handled her surprising reunion. It was framed strangely. I did not like the end of the chapter that made it seem like Phoebe’s mother was having an affair. That was weird. And I wouldn’t read that to my kids. And ultimately, Phoebe’s imagination is a bit over the top sometimes. Not everyone is a murderer. It was funny for a bit but it got a bit out of control later.
This book has been fascinating to review. Some things about it I really loved– the characters, the themes, the interwoven timelines. And others I really didn’t–mostly the mothers leaving their children. But this book has had me thinking about themes of love, loss, fear, closure, and family for weeks. I am still thinking about this book after finishing it over a month ago. And that is the kind of book worth reading and sharing. Yes, there are some hard things in this book. And I don’t agree with all of them. But I appreciate the beautifully written stories and the compelling characters. I’m glad to have read this book.
A fascinating read which I think is a well deserved Newbery winner. This one will stay with you long after you finish it.
What did you think of Walk Two Moons?
Which are your favorite Newbery winners in the 1990’s?
I read this Newbery Medal winner as a part of my Newbery Challenge.
I plan to read all 100 Newbery Medal winners by the end of 2022, the year the 100th winner is announced.