Paterson captures the childish pleasure in playing with your friends beautfiully. She paints Jess sympathetically, and I feel like she really remembers what it was like to be a child. Jess’s drawing is something that makes him unique, and you find yourself longing for him to be successful, and be able to break out of the rut of his life.
Bridge to Terabithia
Jess and Leslie are making their own secret world, where no one else can find them. It’s perfect for them, where they can escape from their problems. It is marred though as the outside world demands more of their attention. I feel like this doesn’t capture the book’s essence at all – if you’re curious (and feel up to being immersed in a childish consciousness) read it yourself! Hit the jump for more…
The language used by Paterson paints a beautiful picture and it is possible to imagine everything in your head. The words used by Jess typify a poorer country setting, and give the reader instant insight into what he thinks in his head. Jess realizes his insufficient grasp of English, but is unable to improve it. It’s something that you hope he will be able to improve in the future. He knows so little about everything, he isn’t well read.
I felt like the school was perhaps a little large for the area, but the very crowded classes typical of a school that brings a huge area together rang true. Also, it is distinctly American, and Australian children are unlikely to understand the importance of visiting Washington. It’s not a perfect book, but younger readers aren’t going to be able to analyse it in the same way I do either.
When I read this book for the first time in primary school I cried at the ending, and was disturbed for days. I couldn’t believe it had happened. I think it touched me so much because I come from a rural background, and so I could empathize with everything that was going on and relate it to my own childhood. Instead of being ripped away from the city, I was removed for the country, but reading this books brings back so many memories!
I believe that this has now been made into a film, but I haven’t seen it. I probably don’t want to either, as I usually find I hate the movies of books. I would be so sad if they wreaked the perfect storyline and didn’t keep the secret country as I expected it to be.
I’d recommend this book for children, and advise parental supervision and comforting if required. The ending is so sad!