Walk Two Moons

Verdict

Walk Two Moons is a book I may read again simply because I loved how well it was written and how the characters in the story interacted with each other. The message of this book, for me, was also delivered well, especially with how the narrative was wrapped up.

My main issue here was Phoebe Winterbottom, Salamanca’s friend, as she can be quite insufferable, particularly in some stretches of the story. But, I guess it was needed to deliver the message to me… “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”

This is a recommended read.

Book description

Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the “Indian-ness in her blood,” travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a “potential lunatic,” and whose mother disappeared.

As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold—the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.

Write-up

Walk Two Moons is a story within a story that leads to the own story of Salamanca, the main character, to unfold. Sounds confusing but this book was well written and able to hold the narrative together.

The main story is the roadtrip Sal takes with her grandparents to Idaho. Her Gram and Gramps were quite the lovebirds throughout the trip. I loved reading how they interacted with each other, including the scenes in the hospital when Gram got bitten by a snake and got sick. Bittersweet ending for this couple but their dynamics was the kind of relationship people could wish for – something that transcends time.

During the ride, Sal tells the story of her friend Phoebe Winterbottom, which also included bits about her father, her teacher, her friends and Ben, a love interest. Given that this story was told from a 13-year old’s perspective, it felt real raw and honest. This part is focused more on Phoebe’s peculiar theories and behavior. Sometimes, I can empathize with her – but mostly Phoebe was insufferable… Even Sal feels the same way.

I loved how everything about Phoebe’s story was wrapped up in the end. Just showed how our imagination can be quite wild at times. But, at that age, I believe it is normal to feel confused with more complex thoughts and emotions and it was Phoebe’s way of coping – fishing in the air.

Lastly, there is the own story of Sal unfolding. Throughout the narrative, she grew in my point of view – from a stubborn child to someone who was able to reconcile and grasp with the complexity of grief and loss. It was a coming-of-age for her and I liked reading about it. The reveal in the end was quite a surprise for me… I understood why her father was firm in saying she was just fishing in the air waiting for her mom to come back.

As Sal came to realize –

I still fish in the air sometimes. It seems to me that we can’t explain all the truly awful things in the world like war and murder and brain tumors, and we can’t fix these things, so we look at the frightening things that are closer to us and we magnify them until they burst open. Inside is something that we can manage, something that isn’t as awful as it had at first seemed. It is a relief to discover that although there might be axe murderers and kidnappers in the world, most people seem a lot like us: sometimes afraid and sometimes brave, sometimes cruel and sometimes kind.

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