This is a coming of age novel that tells the story of Jesse Oliver Aarons, Jnr and Leslie Burke
Jesse is a ten-year old kid, lonely amongst four sisters; two typical teenage girls and the other two too little. Even with older girls, Jesse is saddled with responsibilities and chores and seems to be neglected emotionally by everyone. In the narration, he thinks ‘it seems he had been thought too big since the day he was born’.
He’d spent the whole of the summer break preparing to race and be the champion from the junior class, but when the time came, he lost to Leslie Burke, a ‘weird’ girl who’d moved in next to his house. The book follows the blooming friendship between the two; from Jesse’s dislike to his curiosity and finally a beautiful friendship. They talked about things they couldn’t tell another soul and for the first time, Jesse had something to look forward to. Leslie’s point of view was a break from the norm and was refreshing to Jesse and they spent time on crazy adventures and unconventional conversations.
In the forest, they found a ‘magical’ place and christened it Terabithia and there they ruled as the king and queen. Terabithia became their sanctuary and Jesse and Leslie spent almost everyday after school there; in their own private oasis.
And then tragedy struck; Leslie died trying to get into Terabithia on a rainy day when Jesse had accompanied Miss Edmund(the music teacher from school) to town for an art exhibition.
And ten-year old Jesse had to deal with the pain of losing a best friend, even as a part of him died inside from guilt and grief.
The book is a significant symbolism of how much we matter, little as we are. Leslie reinvented Jesse’s beliefs and shaped them up. ‘Took him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king’. It portrays the beauty of imagination and friendship and love. It shows perfectly that size does not matter as much as spirit and how we see ourselves, treat ourselves, as well as others is all that matters. With inept use of words well crafted, the book subtly pushes that we should leave our mark upon the world, and if the world is too big and we are too small, we should leave it upon a person. And there was strength and purpose in living.
The book ends with Jesse taking his sister, May Belle into Terabithia and the magic surrounding the place that he and Leslie had created,dedicated to pay back to the world in beauty and caring, what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.
Beautiful, emotional and totally gripping, Bridge to Terabithia is an absolute must-read.
Have you read this amazing book? What was your take on it? You haven’t? Would you care to read it then? Don’t be a stranger! Drop a comment!
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