I sit by my open back door, in the late afternoon with a slow steady rain making a hissing sound as it falls through the trees. I have just closed the cover of the first young adult novel I’ve read in many, many years. I sigh. I think “wow”. I didn’t have to be thirteen to identify, cry, and feel such pain right along with Salamanca Hiddle in “Walk Two Moons”. Sharon Creech weaves and crafts two stories that are really one in the most sensitive manner possible. For example:
“So you didn’t leave Gramps because of the cussing?”
“Salamanca, I don’t even remember why I did that. Sometimes you know in your heart you love someone, but you have to go away before your head can figure it out.”
This, by far, has been one of the most heart piercing mother/daughter, husband/wife stories I have ever read. Figuring out loss, fear, and letting go have never been portrayed within a story such as it is in this book, totally appropriate for the young adult audience, while at the same time so perfectly poignant for the adult reader.
Next week I’m taking a children’s writing course at the Cape Cod Writers Center writing conference and the assignment was to read “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech. I bought it on Amazon for $1.99 and started it yesterday. I’m glad it rained all afternoon so I didn’t have to put it down. As a new writer, I can definitely learn from this author. I also know that I can definitely learn from Karen Day, our course instructor. For her to pick this book as an example she is going to refer to throughout the week tells me this class is going to be worth every penny.
Calling all adults – I highly recommend this book. If you are the parent of a middle grader it gives tremendous insight into the thirteen year old mind. It’s a story that transcends time, disregarding the age of technology that our children are now growing up in, and pointing out the thoughts and feelings that are common to human nature when someone we love leaves us or is taken away from us. For the adult that has lost a friend, parent or a spouse, the feelings are sensitively sorted out and placed in a framework of understanding. Many times I just had to put the book down and wiping away my tears, look up at the ceiling with such new clarity.
And so, as another day goes by, “don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins” rings just as true today as it did when Creech wrote it in 1994, and …I have written.