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Walk Two Moons (1994)

by Sharon Creech

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8,498297809 (4.11)1 / 164
After her mother leaves home suddenly, thirteen-year-old Sal and her grandparents take a car trip retracing her mother's route. Along the way, Sal recounts the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother also left.

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» See also 164 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
This book is annoying from the start, but Sal, the protagonist, isn't as as childish as the one from Creech's book "Bloomability." Sal remarks on her family's naming conventions, saying they're "Indian" names. This book was written in the 90s, but that wording made it clear the author isn't Native. I checked each name, and two are tribes out of New York. The third is a Sioux name. I looked up more on the book. Creech got the title from a fortune cookie, and one of her cousins is part American Indian, as she phrases it, and she cheerily admits to intentionally lying as a kid and saying she was full Native. At this point, all I can do is sigh in exasperation. Sal is stated to have long, beautiful black hair, and she looks down on girls who have shoulder-length hair. She desperately misses her enormous, sprawling home in Kentucky. Her father moved her to another state, into the city, for reasons I never felt were clear. It's not at all explained at first that Sal's mom died--she keeps talking about bringing her back.

A third of the way into the book, half a dozen subplots have been introduced. This book would have functioned -way- better as a short story collection instead of a novel with so many subplots. The grandparents were probably supposed to be delightfully quirky, but were annoying and irresponsible. I loved their marriage and courtship story, though. When I go on a date from here on out, I'm asking my date if they have a dog and how they treat their dog, too. Ben, Sal's love interest, can't keep his hands to himself and is going to grow up to be a creep. Phoebe is weird, and so is her family. Why did I like this book as a kid?

The kids' English teacher has boundary issues in that he reads their class-issued journals out loud, and has them write about each other and personal things. He's treating it like an unethical sociological experiment. Phoebe is a horrid dinner guest and and even worse sleepover guest to Sal. Creech had the character Lila do something very similar in her book "Bloomability," so I wonder if 1. This is a thing that actually happened or 2. One of those scenes was the original concept and Creech wanted to rewrite it, so she did in another one of her books. It could be something totally different than my wonderings.
The book is increasingly awkward and bizarre, and takes a few turns right into soap opera territory. Sometimes I like soap opera territory. This was not that! A children's book about loss and grief shouldn't have had so many weird things in it, and the author shouldn't shove cultures into her book that she knows nothing about. The ending pages were more calm and respectful than any of the book, and they belonged in a much better book. ( )
  iszevthere | Jul 11, 2022 |
I discovered this book when I was a young kid and I was always my favorite. reading it as an adult brings me right back in to younger days, absorbed in the peculiar story and the web of strands wound from a story in a story. ( )
  chasingholden | Apr 26, 2022 |
This is the story of Sal Hiddle's road trip across the US with her grandparents.

Despite completely loving it and it making me cry, it did drag a bit in the second half, I found myself skipping ahead, which I very seldom do in books. Which was probably an error, because I spoilered myself with a twist I hadn't seen coming, although in some ways reading the second half of the book watching Sal lie to herself that her mother isn't dead was an even more powerful read.

What's it about? Stories in stories. How we understand our own stories through listening to other people's stories, and understand ourselves through reflections in others. How we should see things from the other person's point of view.

There is a strong theme of women who leave, who are being crushed by the pressure of family life and just run away. Sal's mother, crushed by the still birth of her second child, goes on a roadtrip (which has a tragic outcome). Phoebe's mother, leaves with no warning and goes to rebuild her relationship with the child she gave up for adoption. There is a half told story about the time even Sal's grandma left her grandpa for three days to run off with the egg man, who actually wrote her love letters. What do we take from this, women who leave and mostly return? Their children are sad and angry and bitter about it, but also are taught that a person has to go out and do things, and mother dogs drive off their puppies when they are weened.

There is also so much death in this book. The only other Sharon Creech I have read is 'Love that dog', I wonder if all her books are about someone needing to grieve who isn't ready to grieve yet and has to try and understand their loss? I was not prepared for the baby dying, or the snake bite, or gram dying, or for the twist that Sal's mum can never come back because she is dead. It is such a sweet book in so many ways, with blackberry kisses and farm life and all the highlights of traveling across the USA, geysers and badlands, and then so much tragedy. I guess that is life.

Oddly, in a book where many unusual things happen, it was the English teacher deciding to read out people's personal journals without realising that anonymisation doesn't work in a tiny class that struck me as most stupid and unlikely! ( )
  atreic | Apr 8, 2022 |
I love stories that portray children navigating their way as the adults around them stumble through grown-up problems, and this novel does that skillfully. My son and I read this aloud to one another, and we both enjoyed the layers and layers of stories (except for the romance, which my son says is dumb because the boy is a creep and not a "romantic guy"). Read as part of the Build Your Library homeschool curriculum, level 7. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Feb 9, 2022 |
Ive read this book several times before (in grade school and as a teenager) and find the story compelling and interesting and it always makes me cry at least a little bit. The split format of the book as Sal tells the reader about several different times in her life works well and the story is emotional and serious and hilarious in turns.

Even though I like this book I took issue with it on this read through because of something I didnt really pick up on before; its kinda racist. Im not saying the author holds any malice towards Native Americans, but the way she includes that part of her protagonists identity relies quite a bit on stereotypes and tropes. I would still highly recommend this book, but also probably recommend checking out some reviews written by Indigenous people as well. ( )
  mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 296 (next | show all)
A richly layered novel about real and metaphorical journeys.
added by ArrowStead | editSchool Library Journal
Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 1995 (Vol. 48, No. 5))
Salamanca-Sal-grew up in Kentucky, but she and her father moved to Ohio after her mother's death; she and her grandparents are currently taking a road trip to Idaho, where her mother is buried. As they travel, Sal relates to her grandparents the story of her friend Phoebe, whose unhappy mother left Phoebe's family; Sal finds that recounting Phoebe's story helps her understand the desertion of her own mother, who was later killed when the bus taking her away from her family crashed. Creech skillfully keeps these layers separate but makes their interrelationship clear, and the plot moves along amid all this contemplation with the aid of a mysterious note-leaver, a local "lunatic," an eccentric English teacher, and Sal's budding romance, not to mention Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful, and a poisonous snakebite along the road of Sal's trip with her grandparents. The style is smooth and imaginative but cheerfully plain-spoken ("I wanted to jump up and say, 'Phoebe's mother has disappeared and that is why Phoebe is acting like a complete donkey,' but I didn't"), and the folksiness of Sal's grandparents (Sal's grandfather calls Sal his "chickabiddy" and his wife "gooseberry") is warm and uncontrived. Readers who enjoyed Barbara Hall's Dixie Storms (BCCB 7/90) will appreciate this strong and tender novel about all kinds of gain and loss. R*--Highly recommended as a book of special distinction. (c) Copyright 1995, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1994, HarperCollins, 280p, $15.89 and $16.00. Grades 7-12.
added by kthomp25 | editThe Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Deborah Stevenson
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1994)
Singular, vividly realized characters are at the heart of this moving, funny and astonishing novel. On a cross-country trip to Idaho to visit her mother, thirteen-year-old Sal fascinates and delights her grandparents with the story of mystery surrounding her best friend Phoebe Winterbottom, or Peeby as Gram and Gramps refer to her. But in telling Phoebe's story, Sal is also telling her grandparent's her own - how she is dealing with the changes in her life since her mother left their Kentucky home and she and her father moved to Ohio. The narrative moves back and forth between Sal on the road with her grandparents and Sal's story of Phoebe, but throughout, she privately reflects on her own memories of life back in Kentucky before her mother went away, when things seemed calm and whole. The journey west with her grandparents, who are colorful, quirky characters with boundless love, is healing for Sal as she comes to understand and accept why her mother went away. An added bonus for Wisconsin readers are the stops Sal and her grandparents make in downtown Madison and the Wisconsin Dells as they journey west. Winner, 1994 CCBC Newbery Award Discussion. CCBC categories: Fiction For Children; Fiction For Teenagers. 1994, HarperCollins, 280 pages, $15.89. Ages 10-14.
added by kthomp25 | editCooperative Children's Book Center Choices
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Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.
For my sister and brothers:
Sandy, Dennis, Doug, Tom
with love
The Favorite
First words
Gramps says that I am a country girl at heart, and that is true.
Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.
Everyone has his own agenda.
In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?
You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.
We never know the worth of water until the well is dry.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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After her mother leaves home suddenly, thirteen-year-old Sal and her grandparents take a car trip retracing her mother's route. Along the way, Sal recounts the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother also left.

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