Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, known as Sal, is traveling from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, in search of her mother.
This is the first sentence on the back of my copy of Walk Two Moons. No doubt you’ve heard of this book. Likely you’ve read it for school or noticed it on a trek through the library. You’ve also probably seen it on the Newberry Medals list. But is it worthy for this honor? Is it also worthy for the escapist blog?
Let’s take a look at the characters.
Salamanca Tree Hiddle – She’s new to this town that has no pigs or chickens or cows and she doesn’t like it. She’s used to open spaces and little people. She doesn’t come to this town willingly. She’s sarcastic but nice and doesn’t really know who she is.
Phoebe – She’s perfect, her sisters perfect, her Mothers perfect and her Fathers perfect. With their cholesterol free diets and perfectly clean house nothing seems to be wrong. Phoebe loves it this way. She doesn’t think highly of Mary Lou whose family is huge and very comfortable around each other.
Ben – Immediately he seems to take a liking to Salamanca. He loves to draw and seems really nice. He lives with Mary Lou, his cousin, and their family but doesn’t seem to quite blend in. He’s not loud but somewhat quiet and intellectual.
Mary Lou – She likes to use really weird words for ejaculations. Like Alpha and Omega (which another student says is like saying the Lord’s name in vain) or beef brain. She’s very close to her family like Phoebe but it’s a different kind of closeness.
Gram – Huzza, huzza! What a wonderful lady. She is herself and loves gramps more than the egg man.
Gramps – He’s the grandpa anyone would want. He loves his gooseberry (gram) and his chickabiddy (Salamanca) and his pipe.
The reader is taken on a ride from Ohio to Idaho as Salamanca not only tries to find her Mom but herself.
I honestly was there in the car as Salamanca told stories to her grandparents. I experienced the blackberry kisses, the hugs from her fathers and the panic about the lunatic. I cried at the end when she found her Mother.
And what’s amazing about this is that I have read this book before but it was like I was doing it all over again. I remember reading it the first time and it was a whole mystery and I had no idea what was going to happen. This second time I knew what was going to happen and yet I was still there. I still wanted to give Sal a hug and tell Phoebe that it’ll be all okay in the end. I wanted to cry with gramps and dance with gram.
This, I think, is the kind of book we at escapism are looking for. The kind that you can forget your life for a while but still find something out about yourself and about life that you can use later on. I was having a tough time today but as I read, I realized I don’t actually have it that tough. I also cried at the ending which crying always helps a great deal.
I won’t tell you the ending because I don’t want to ruin it for you but I do suggest you read it. I suggest you step into Salamanca’s shoes and hang on for the ride. Through the tears, through the smiles, through the loss and through the gain. It’s an amazing journey that I don’t think could have been told by anyone but Sharon Creech.
After reading this, I do suggest you read some more of Sharon Creech’s books. She’s one of my most favorite authors for young adult readers. Other books by her that are just as amazing are Chasing RedBird, Bloomability, Ruby Holler and Heartbeat. But don’t forget to read Walk Two Moons if you haven’t yet.
On the scale of living or not I’d say this is Dancing.