Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a girl, boldly crosses over to the boys’ side of the playground and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn’t matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny , or that her family has a lot of money — but no TV. Leslie has an imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie had given him.
Who wouldn’t want a magical kingdom that had everything a person could imagine? This is the very idea that brings Leslie and Jess together in Katherine Paterson’s book Bridge to Terabithia, where two lives are bridged, and nothing will be the same. “A place just for us” says Leslie. This book tells the story of two friends with very different backgrounds that bond and create a fantasy land called Terabithia. While I enjoyed the entire novel, I most enjoyed the interesting theme, exciting setting and great characters.
I loved the challenging themes presented in the book. Bridge to Terabithia is expressed in a very interesting way. Jess and Leslie’s friendship is the central theme of the story .Their friendship is delightful on a simple level, with their amusement and joy. However, Jess and Leslie’s friendship is so magical because it allows them to rejoice in childhood and to escape pressures that bear down on them so heavily in the rest of their lives. This is the essential beauty of their friendship: it allows Leslie and Jess to find their true selves. For example both characters are outcast and Jess, in particular, has a life full of hard work. Terabithia was a unique way to reveal the theme of the story.
The setting was something I also enjoyed in this story. Terabithia stands as a symbol of childhood, a perfect world in which children can rule without heavy responsibility of adulthood. No bad can touch the rulers of Terabithia. Terabithia helps Jess and Leslie escape there tackles in life but Terabithia is not a complete sanctuary, it is proven by Leslie’s death. She drowns in the creek, the border between the perfect world of Terabithia and the hard world of reality. By the end of the novel Jess comes to understand that he must not depend on Terabithia as an escape, but to handle his life problems head on.
The third element that most caught my attention was the characters in the book. Jess and Leslie meet at the very beginning of the novel when Leslie out runs all the boys at school .Jess Aarons is a talented and intelligent kid .He is the main character and protagonist of the novel .When Leslie moves next door Jess is lonely and lost in the middle of a family of four girls. Leslie is a also highly intelligent and imaginative, it is her idea to build the fantasy land Terabithia. The two characters have a special click that compares their personalities, lifestyles, and relationships. The gender roles caught my attention as well. Each Jess and Leslie are expected to fit into a mold but in Bridge to Terabithia it shows that neither characters have to have a certain role but they can be themselves without gender stereotypes .
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and intend to keep reading the authors books. I recommend this book to teens that enjoy a book that goes in too deep thought and who love books about friendship. I think this novel would make great discussion while it challenges you to think about the life of reality and a perfect world. Through the use of strong theme, unique setting and awesome characters, Katherine Paterson has created a winner in her book Bridge to Terabithia.