I am so impressed with Sharon Creech, author of Walk Two Moons.
Walk Two Moons has quite a cast of characters, and the main ones are so richly complex and likable (and a few unlikeable, but we understand why they are being “donkey stubborn” (okay, that is not the phrase Sal uses, but I have been hunting and hunting. Can anyone help me?))
When I step back and analyze all that the author has included, it is, to use the word of the day, impressive.
- Road trips—As Gram, Gramps, and Sal follow the path that Sal’s mom took, they also forge their own way. Between the snake bite (in last week’s section) and the tourist sites, and the sense of knowing what they will find in Idaho, their trip is unique. I appreciate how Sal hears at times rush, rush and at others slow, slow. When you know where you are going, but are not sure what you will find, rush and slow oscillate, don’t they?
- Poetry—ee cummings and Longfellow, no less. And side note, since Phoebe’s story is helping Sal tell her story, I will use this story to tell a bit of my own. My junior year of highs school we were assigned poets. I was assigned ee cummings and my dear friend was assigned Lawrence Ferlinghetti. So, though I know very little about poetry, those two poets have always been dear. I also remember a few random lines of ee cumings poetry. Thank you education! Were you assigned a poet in school? If so, which one?
- Greek mythology—Fav scene in this section? When Phoebe presented on Pandora and said, “‘So Zeus made a sweet and beautiful woman, then Zeus invited all the gods to dinner. It was a very civilized dinner, with matching plates.’ Mary Lou and Ben exchanged an eyebrow message. ‘Zeus asked the gods to give the woman presents—to make her feel like a welcome guest.’ Phoebe glanced at me. ‘They gave her wonderful things: a fancy shawl, a silver dress, beauty—’ Ben interrupted. ‘I thought you said she was already beautiful.’ ‘They gave her more beauty. Are you satisfied?'”
Oh Yes I am. Can’t you just hear someone around Phoebe’s age and level of distress at her mother’s disappearance working matching plates into a presentation on Pandora?
- Fear/Anxiety—So much believable fear . . . which is also mixed with sadness and grief!
- Sal anxious about the new life her dad is trying to build (and therefore she must build.). I also wonder in the back of her mind if she is afraid that falling out of the tree and her mom having to carry her caused the death of her baby sister.
- Sal’s dad anxious about how to begin to incorporate Margaret into his life, while still parenting a child who is deep in the throes of grief over her mom. Will he be able to navigate this uncharted territory?
- Phoebe deeply anxious about her mom’s disappearance but it showing up in fear of cholesterol, a lunatic, her dad not doing enough, confusion as to why her mom called Mrs. Cadaver, and more.
- Phoebe’s dad anxious about his wife. That last line of chapter 29! “‘Phoebe, your imagination is running away with you.’ ‘It is not. Mom loves me, and she would not leave me without any explanation.’ And then her father began to cry.”
- Even Gran and Gramp, I think they have mild anxiety that Sal will not find what she needs on the trip to Idaho to help her with the next level of processing and grieving her mom.
- But also Hope
- Referenced in the presentation of Pandora. How in the midst of so much understandable yucky, there is hope.
- Margaret hoping that Sal will accept her.
- Sal’s dad hoping the same.
- Phoebe’s dad hoping his wife will come home.
- Sal and Phoebe hoping to feel safe in their lives again.
I like how we get a sense of the adults from the kids perspectives. More than that, we see how the adults are doing the best they can in the midst of messy life. I appreciate so many healthy marriages: Sal’s parents, Sal’s grandparents, Gram and Gramps, and Mr. and Mrs. Finney.
In addition to the “Pandora scene,” these two stood out to me. When the teacher asked the kids to draw their soul and Sal noticed they all drew a central shape, like a heart, circle, square, or triangle. “Next I noticed that inside each figure was a distinct design.” What a beautiful picture of a soul . . . there is something universal about them, yet also deeply personal.
When Sal noticed how annoyed she was with Phoebe when Phoebe spent the night and knew that though she loved Phoebe, in that moment she hated her. “I wondered if this is how my dad felt when I threw all those temper tantrums.Maybe he hated me for a while.”
Next week we will figure out what has become of Mrs. Winterbottom, if Sal’s mom is alive or not, who the lunatic is, and how Mr. What’s his name from school and Mrs. Cadaver are tied in with each other.
What scenes stood out to you in this section? Where do you think Mrs. Winterbottom is?! How is this road trip going to help Sal? How will not going on it help her dad? Thank you for reading along!
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P.S. Next week we finish Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. The following week, we will read The Piano Tuner. I found a free version, but it is only available in some countries. Check out if you can get it for free!