Review: Bridge to Terabithia

Say what you will about Catholic schoolin' and the limited scope of education you get with a religio-curriculum, I maintain that I read some mad good books back in the days of plaid unis. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Chosen, Anna Karenina all stand out as favorites. However, one I missed was Bridge to Terabithia. My girlhood as an avid Disney Channel couch potato afforded me the chance to see the made-for-telly movie. So I remember how the story ends. But a mate who works in publishing and I were waxing poetic about some of the edgier young adult novels we had read, including I Am the Cheese (which my mate said was Thee Book that made her want to go into publishing because it caused her to realize that books could be both written for youth and positively "insane!"). She recommended Bridge to Terabithia because, she said, it has a rare poignancy, and it is perfectly written in parts, and I certainly agree. The voices are amazing. I don't know how Patterson contrasts Appalachia with Inside-the-Beltway DC dialect and makes it somehow comprehensible for a young reader, but she does. And she gets inside the head of a fifth grade boy. Did you ever think to care that what might be rattling around in the head of a fifth grade boy? That it might be something other than spitballs and making his pee arc higher than the guy at the urinal next to him? I'm not sure I did. And I have a little brother. This is a beautiful book and I read most of it with the wee one sleeping on my lap. Maybe she could experience the brilliance by osmosis. Or whatever. I hope to add it to her library at some point. Until then, I will just have to teach her how to make her own little magical Terabithia and reign in it as queen....

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