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Bridge to Terabithia
About 21 years ago, when I was in fourth grade at Forsyth School, I read Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Let me rephrase that. I was supposed to read Bridge to Terabithia. The description of the book is, "The story of a special friendship between a boy and girl." Do you think that really sounds interesting to a fourth grade boy? So I only read the first few chapters and, when I found out the ending, a couple of the more applicable chapters near the end (I won't spoil it).

Fast forward 20 years when I first saw the previews for the Bridge to Terabithia movie. I thought it looked awefully fantastical and figured they had embellished quite a bit on the book and had jumped on the LOTR/Narnia computer generated fantasy book bandwagon. Being a Disney movie, I assumed they had changed the ending too and so I wrote it off.

However, my sister brought the movie home for the holidays so I decided to go ahead and watch it. Despite not reading the entire book, I found the movie pretty good and from what I could remember, pretty darn faithful. This reviewer seems to agree. Oh, and I love Zooey Deschanel's eyes too...

Since I was at home, I decided that after 21 years, I should probably dig out my copy and read the book in it's entirety (after all, it did win a Newbery award). A quick reference of the publish date shows 1977, the year I was born! It appears to be the first printing and a quick search of Google images doesn't return the original cover art.

The 128 page book (it seemed so long back then but seems so small now) is an easy read and despite being written for kids, I found it surprisingly deep, touching, profound and insightful. I could almost call it gripping because for the first time in a long time, I read the book for my entire 8AM flight instead of sleeping like I usually do. Later that night, it almost made me want to cry when I got to the (surprisingly long) ending act.

The movie did make some creative changes, one of which resulted in a debate between my mom and sister over the meaning of it. Despite this, the movie is still pretty good, but it just doesn't do justice to the book which I think was excellent and definitely worth a read if you haven't read it and regardless of whether you've seen the movie.

One other funny thing is that after all these years, the other thing I distinctly remember about the book is that I had two copies. I think I found one lying around on the last day of school that year and the owner, Krissi, had already left so I kept it (her name is written on the inside cover).

I figured it would be amusing to track down Krissi and give it back to her but I couldn't find her on FaceBook or even on a Google. I saw her only a couple times after grade school because I think she went to Burroughs for high school (my rival school).

I wonder if I can find an old Forsyth or Burroughs yearbook to see if she has an official spelling that's different. Of course Caroline pointed out that she could have been married or something by now...

I should dig out some of my other grade school books too...
Posted 01/14/2009 08:34 PM in Books, Movies, Ramblings
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