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Monday, July 6, 2020

Bridge To Terabithia Book Review

Roughly 42 years ago, the world was blessed with the publication of Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. From what seemed outdated, the themes of friendship, resolution, and acceptance are resonant to this day. The novel tells the story of an artistic boy named Jesse Aarons and his friendship with the smart and talented Leslie Burke as they reigned the imaginary kingdom of Terabithia – their respite from real-life struggles.

Katherine Paterson, Bridge of Terrabithia
Image: Netflix
The timelessness of the story continues to attract more readers. Its longevity is credited to its intuitive storytelling that services children and adults. As a children’s literature, young readers are expected to relate to the struggles of Leslie and Jesse both at home and at school. Young readers would also find the evocative yet subtle magic of Terabithia appealing and reinforcing of whims.

For adult readers, a more nuanced tale is expected. Early on, you would be handed with the reality of societal division. Living urban is different from living in rural. The livelihoods are different, and people are different. Leslie and Jessie are two persons that came from these backgrounds. While the former is born from affluence and the latter is poor, they connected in deep and meaningful ways. Their fondness brought them together. One learned temperance while the other learned to be true.

Katherine Paterson, Bridge of Terabithia
Image: Uproar

As the story progressed, the friendship of Leslie and Jesse affected the lives around them. Jesse’s father was a person accustomed to traditional gender roles but eventually softened and became more open. The relationship between Jesse and his younger sister deepened and evolved as close confidants in the end. Leslie’s parents learned empathy although a bit late. Even the bully Janice learned to settle her differences with Leslie.

Regrets and sacrilege apply to the mature aspect of the novels. Despite being a responsible and dutiful kid, Jesse was haunted by a single decision that changed his life. This ties in with the deliberate approach to religion showcased. Jesse believed that damnation is upon those that doubted religion. While this is not applicable to all beliefs, this is an acknowledgment of the mythos from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis that inspired the author.

Looking back in the past, it is hard to ignore faults and mistakes. Especially at those moments of selfishness and petulance that defined most of our childhood. These are the crucial period when we either remember fondness or express confusion. The thing with this novel is that it tells us not to turn our backs on the negatives but embrace the entirety with open arms, in the hope that these shall remind and guide to the gnarled road ahead.

Katherine Paterson, Bridge of Terabithia
Image: Romper
The book has been adapted into a critically acclaimed film in 2007. It was noted for its stunning visuals made out of a modest budget of less than 30 million dollars. The film may not match the juggernauts of young adult fantasy such as Harry Potter, but it left a lasting mark to those who have seen it and the great portrayal of characters such as Anna Sophia Robb's portrayal of Leslie Burke. You can watch the review video below.


Written by Joshua Rodriguez, IFY Books

 Greetings fellow book and pop-culture enthusiast!  I am your average young adult that loves to read science fiction (SF), general fiction and occasionally, young adult novels and children’s literature. At my spare time you may find me watching Star Trek and Doctor Who or updating my library with the latest shows from streaming giants such as Netflix and Hulu. I devote most of my time in learning, critiquing, and researching. If you want to know more, go check out my reviews!

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