“What time’s the class at tonight?” I ask my wife as I swing our ancient once-was-white-but-now-who-can-tell Camry around a corner. It bounces reluctantly, reminding me that I have no idea when the last time the shocks were changed (if ever).
My wife doesn’t answer.
I click up the A/C, check my mirror and ask again, “Love?” I pull my eyes off traffic long enough to glance at her. There it is: face the color of a brick house and tears making little glistening paths as they pull down her cheeks.
I sigh. It’s my fault she’s crying. It usually is, but this time I didn’t say or do anything. No, really, I didn’t. Okay, fine: I did. But in my defense, all I did was recommend that she read Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.
When I finished the last sentence, my exact words were, “I don’t think I’ve ever read a better book.”
I’ll say the same to you. Read it. No, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about. No, I’m not going to summarize it. It’s less than 200 tiny pages, and you can probably crush it in a few dedicated sittings.
Are there monsters?
A narrative climax?
More like a narrative explosion.
As I read the book I kept putting it down and thinking, “Why am I so in love with this story? Nothing is happening. There is no great quest, adventure, or even an evil queen in a tower that must be outwitted or turned into a puddle. Why? Why am I hopelessly captivated by this story?”
I still can’t answer that question. Reading it is like drifting on a lake at sunset. You’re happy to be out on the water as the sky burns overhead. The water loses its blues and the purples come from the depths to stain the surface. You enjoy the view, what you’re seeing, where you are, but you’re not sure if you’re going anywhere. Does it matter? Not at all. But then Katherine Paterson asks to look at the shore. Your heart slams in your chest. Your stomach drops. You’ve been drifting. You are miles away from where you started.
That’s what reading Bridge to Terabithia felt like.
Don’t let me dissuade you. Buy the ticket. Take the ride. You might cry. You might not. But I’ll tell you up front that Jess and Leslie will stay with you long after you’ve shut the book.
Rating: 10/10 Seriously, I can’t fault this book.
Content Rating: PG. No graphic violence. No sex. No innuendos. Nothing.
Age suggestion: 11-15 (and anyone who likes great stories, reading books, breathing, living, etc. Just read it.)
Questionable Content: None.