WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech

I just realized that I never reviewed our last mother-daughter book club of 2015: Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, so here’s a quick review. Walk Two Moons is a rather sad book about Sal, a girl who moves with her father from a farm in Kentucky to Ohio after her mother leaves the family and moves to Idaho. Sal’s mother has died in a bus accident in Idaho, but she is either in denial about her mother’s death or has not been told by her father explicitly about it. (This aspect of the book is a little unclear and sparked a lot of discussion.) Sal ends up driving with her grandparents from Ohio to Idaho, tracing her mother’s final steps, so that she can learn about and get closure around her mother’s death.

During the road trip with Sal’s grandparents, she tells them a lot of stories about her life in Ohio, featuring her father’s close friend Margaret Cadaver, Sal’s new friend Phoebe, and some of the strange goings-on that happened to both of them. She also talks about Ben, a boy that she has developed a crush on, and another strange boy who keeps lurking in her neighborhood. In the end, Sal achieves the closure she needs, but she also experiences more losses and learns that she is not alone in feeling abandoned by her mother.

I counted five people in Walk Two Moons who were living without their mothers, some temporarily and some permanently. The book is about loss and adjusting your expectations and hopes to conform to the reality of your life. It’s also about empathy and understanding what other people are going through. The title of the book comes from an old Native American saying about walking two moons in someone else’s shoes to see their lives as they are living them. The book inspired a good discussion among the moms and the daughters, especially since some parts of the book was left a little vague and we were sharing our different interpretations. I found it a little slow at first, but it eventually picked up steam and was rather engrossing.

Overall, a sad but good middle grade read that our sixth graders enjoyed.