Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
I've run into this book a bunch of times over the years, and it's been recommended to me by friends. So I finally gave it a read. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but it was a great read anyway.
It's the story of a young girl named Sal who's recently moved away from home to a new town after her mother left the family suddenly. Her grandparents are driving her across the country to where her mother is and, along the way, Sal tells her grandparents the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, a girl in her new neighborhood. The story is full of mystery and interesting characters, observations about human nature, and even a possible love interest for Sal. Phoebe's mother leaves home and it was pretty obvious to me why. But it was still interesting to see how everyone reacts and interacts in the crisis. Sal is a great storyteller. Her grandparents frustrated me a number of times, however, because they kept stopping along the way; they could have made the drive a lot faster.
The twists at the end were heartbreaking. I'd guessed one of them, but had hoped I'd been wrong. The reveal was devastating regardless, and I definitely shed a few tears. And it was beautiful for Sal to realize that the point of the trip wasn't the destination at all... at which point I felt even worse for wanting her grandparents to drive more quickly. Oops.
My biggest problem with this book is that the Winterbottom girls are named Prudence and Phoebe. As a fan of the television show, Charmed, I kept expecting Piper to show up. And the book I read just before this one... had Piper as the main character. Very strange juxtaposition!
The title of the book refers to the old saying about not judging people until you've walked in their shoes. And this is an excellent book to do that with. You really feel like you get a good sense of a lot of the lives of people in this book, from the school teacher to the blind neighbor to Gram & Gramps to Phoebe to Sal's mother, and many others. I really enjoyed this and am glad I finally gave it a go.