Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson: A Review

Title: Bridge to Terabithia
Author: Katherine Paterson
Date Finished: August 26, 2007
Pages: 128
Rating: 3/5

This is the story of Jess, who is determined to be the fastest runner in his 5th grade class. In between his duties both to the farm and his family (due to being the only boy), he practices and practices. This is all fine and well until Leslie, a new student who moved next door to Jess, runs in the race as well...and beats all of the boys for first place.

And unlikely friendship sparks between Jess and Leslie, especially given their very different upbringings and lifestyles, and one day they create a world all their own: Terabithia. Throughout their discovery of what Terabithia contains, they also discover themselves and how each has helped the other grow and challenge fears.

While I really liked the story and relationship of Jess and Leslie, I was disappointed with this book due to the previews I had seen for the movie (which I didn't see). I expected adventure and magical creatures and fantasy, but these things were contained *only* within the imaginations of Jess and Leslie. Yes yes, that is what an imaginary world is, but this did not translate well on the page for me. There is virtually no description of Terabithia, nor what happens there (other than a few isolated events). I'm still going to make my brother (he's 11) read this book though. :)


Holly said...

I was very angry when I saw the previews for this movie for just this reason. They tried to market it as another Narnia, but that isn't what the book (or the movie, for that matter) is about.

The point of the movie is family and friendship dynamics. It's meant to show us how to use our imaginations and that ultimately life is fragile.

The thing is, Hollywood stayed extremely true to the book. Meaning, there was hardly any "fantasy" at all. The movie focused on the same things the book did, so why they marketed it the way they did is beyond me.

BTW: This was my favorite book as a child. :)

Petunia said...

Everything Holly says is true. And the reason the movie stayed so true to the book was that the screen play was written and the movie produced by "Jess", by the real life boy that the book was written about.

Personally I thought the book terribly heartbreaking. I cried, a lot, and I never cry about books. And the movie really nailed the book in every way. You must watch the movie Trish. I insist.

Nymeth said...

I'm going to read this for the Book to Movie challenge very soon. I've seen some other people comment on the absurd way the movie was marketed. I really don't understand why they do that - it only leads to disappointed audiences.

Trish said...

*Holly - very interesting. Well, the previews for the movie make it look like a fantastic fantasy. Unfortunately that tainted my reading a little, but I loved the dynamics between Jess and Leslie all the same.

*Petunia - Wow, great tidbit about Jess!! And I will watch the movie, its just a matter of when!

*Nymeth - I think you're right about the marketing, but it also tainted my reading of the book. I kept thinking--where are the little fairies and walking tree, etc etc. Anyway, I'll be looking for your review on this one...

MyUtopia said...

I was thinking of getting this for my nephew for his birthday. Thanks for the review.

Trish said...

Myuptopia - I'm not sure if this review helps or not. I think the general consensus is that most people really like it (and I passed it to my sister before brother gets it).

Kristen said...

I never saw the movie, but I also remember being indignant like an above commenter, at the way it was misrepresenting the story in the trailers. But if you liked this, can I recommend Paterson's other book, Jacob Have I Loved? It's not at all fantasy, it's just a YA novel about a girl who's overshadowed by her twin, but it's heartbreaking in a much subtler way. (disclaimer: I wasn't a huge fan of Bridge itself... :) )

cj said...

I read this one so long ago that I'm planning on re-reading it for a couple of reasons - to refresh my memory and because I liked it so much the first time.

I remember watching the trailer for the movie and thinking "Huh?" But, I haven't really heard anything bad about it. I need to start a movie list along with my book list.


Trish said...

Kristen - thanks for the recommendation. I haven't heard of it, but next time I'm at Half Price, I'll check it out!

CJ - I've heard good things about the movie, but obviously not from anyone who had actually read the book. Still haven't seen it. Hope you enjoy this one as much as the first time around. :)