Two Broken Families The untold story...
Lina Kim 3 de mayo TH
Back Cover Wondering what you’ll find in this digital magazine? It’s a collection of opinions, character descriptions, settings and time of the novel Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech.
You’ll also find a summary, not to mention the introduction. Don’t forget to look at our bonus content!
Index Back Cover………………………………………………………………………… Page 1 Index………………………………………………………………………………. Page 2 Editorial…………………………………………………………………………… Page 3 Characters…………………………………………………………………………. Pages 4-5 Settings, scenes, and time…………………………………………………………. Pages 6-7 Summary…………………………………………………………………………… Pages 8-12 Comments………………………………………………………………………….. Page 13-15
Editorial Have you ever read a book and realized it didn’t even make sense to you? Some books are like that, whether it’s because it’s a higher level, or because the book was just badly written. Either ways, you shouldn’t just pick out a new one, no! The hardest books are sometimes the best, or the ones with the deepest meanings. So, sometimes, you’ve got to read a book more than once for it to actually make sense to you. That’s always the best choice.
But what if you still don’t get it? What if it’s a confusing novel, like Walk Two Moons? This book flashes back and forth between the present and the past, so the events aren’t really in chronological order. However, there is an easy way for you to better comprehend this novel. By reading this digital magazine, your understanding of this book will improve. Remember that it’s always best to read it over again, but if that doesn’t work for you, then this is your answer. Check out the index if you get lost, and enjoy!
Characters Salamanca “Sal” Tree Hiddle: Sal, a 13 year old girl, grew up in the countryside. Following her mother’s disappearance, she and Mr. Hiddle moved to the city for a fresh start. However, Sal wasn’t really used to the city life, and didn’t want to be there. Then, she met Phoebe Winterbottom. They quickly became best friends. Sal seems to like to think about others, and is a very wise, mature person for her age. Phoebe Winterbottom and her family: Unlike Sal, she wasn’t a free spirit. Her family was very strict and “stiff”, according to Sal, who narrated the story. The Winterbottoms were the opposites of the Hiddles. Soon, her mother disappeared too, but even though Sal understood, Phoebe didn’t want any help anymore. She just wanted to be alone, and was stressed out.
Chanhassen “Sugar” Pickford Hiddle: Sugar was Sal’s mother. She was a loving person, caring, and loved the countryside. However, she had a miscarriage, and since then, she was extremely sad. Sal blamed herself for the miscarriage because she thought her broken leg had caused too much stress. However, the real reason she left was because she thought she wasn’t good enough for her family. When Sugar left to clear her mind though, it broke the family apart.
Mr. Hiddle: Sal’s dad doesn’t appear much, but according to her stories, he was a caring dad. He would always buy little things to cheer up someone’s day. When Sugar left, he was deeply sad, and decided to move because the house reminded him too much of her.
Ben Finney and his family: Ben Finney and Sal met early in the book. Later, they became friends. He wasn’t a typical kid but he seemed to like Sal for understanding him. He lived with his cousin, Mary Lou Finney. He later got a crush on Sal.
Cadaver: Mrs. Cadaver was the
Winterbottoms’ next door neighbor and Sal initially thought she was a crazy lady. However, she later discovered that Mrs. Cadaver was actually a really nice person, and she knew her mother. She was also there when Sugar died.
Settings and time
Bybanks, Kentucky: The Hiddles lived
here, but after Sugar left, the rest of the family moved to the city.
Euclid, Ohio: Sal and her dad moved to this
city after Sugar left. Most of the story takes place in Ohio, though some of it is in Bybanks and some in Idaho.
Grandparents’ van: Sal spent a lot
of time with her grandparents while they were on a road trip to go visit Sugar in Idaho.
Time: This story took place in the early
1990’s, and flashes back and forth between the past and present. As Sal tells her story, on some
chapters, she is talking to her grandparents as they go to look for their mother. This time was similar to right now, but some things have changed since there is a 20+ year gap.
Summary Salamanca “Sal” Tree Hiddle is a 13 year old girl living in Bybanks, Kentucky with her mom and dad. One day, as Sal was playing around and climbing trees, she fell, breaking her leg in the process. On that same day, Sal’s mom, also known as Sugar, had her baby. However, it was a stillborn baby and Sal blamed herself for causing so much stress and panic when she fell from the tree. Following the baby’s death, Sugar started to get more and more private, never opening up and always pretending to be alright. She felt like she was never good enough for them. Soon enough, she left Sal and Mr. Hiddle. Not being able to live in a house that reminded him so much of her, Mr. Hiddle decided that the best option was to move— a decision that Sal did not really like. City life was hard to get used to, especially with her mother gone. There, she met a girl named Phoebe Winterbottom and they became fast friends. Not long after she arrived to the city, she met a lady who seemed insane to her and Phoebe: Margaret Cadaver. Due to this person’s last name, which means “dead body”, and because she was a widow, the girls concluded that Mrs. Cadaver had killed her own husband and was going to kill them next. What Sal didn’t know was that Mrs. Cadaver was actually very nice, and played a crucial role in the story.
One day, Sal went to Phoebe’s house, and discovered how different they actually were. Her family was caring, open-minded, and free spirits, but the Winterbottoms were “stiff”, formal, and serious. However, she saw something that reminded her of her own family: Mrs.
Winterbottom, who always tried too hard to be perfect but had instead ended up sad and alone because nobody ever noticed her. Then, Sal wondered: what if it was her fault that her mother
had left? After seeing Phoebe ignore her crying mother, Sal began to assume that she must have
also ignored her mom.
Sal also met the Finney family, but as she and Phoebe walked towards their house, they met a creepy guy whom they called “The Lunatic”. He was apparently looking for Mrs. Winterbottom, which could’ve had something to do with her strange behaviour. Not long after that, they received a strange message: “Don’t judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins.” Sal and Phoebe decided it was probably “The Lunatic”. They started getting more messages though, so they got a little worried.
Phoebe and Sal started getting many more notes with strange sayings, and saw “The Lunatic” practically everywhere. Sal also noticed how distressed Mrs. Winterbottom seemed. It was as if she was only doing useless things like fetching the nail polish and sewing hems to not feel invisible. Then, she left her family, just like Sugar had. Phoebe strongly believe it was “The Lunatic” who had kidnapped her, and went to the police to convince them. However, they didn't listen because they knew she was just making it up to cope with such a loss.
While Phoebe dealt with her own problems, Sal flashed back to times when her mother was still with her. Then, she realized that if she could not find her own mother, she would help find Phoebe’s because she knew things weren’t only about her, and hated to see others go through what she had. Although she knew Sugar wasn’t coming back, deep down she hoped, and knew that Phoebe was going through the same pain.
Phoebe and Sal eventually found Mrs. Winterbottom with “The Lunatic”, whose name
was Mike. It turned out that Mike was Mrs. Winterbottom’s son, and he had come to find her and talk. Also, they noticed something: Mrs. Winterbottom looked happy and free of all the stress she had previously had. She also looked more independent, as if she had finally realized she didn't have to do useless things like fetch the nail polish to be noticed and loved by her family.
While Sal was telling this story, she was with her grandparents on a road trip to Idaho to visit Sugar. During the journey, they visited national monuments and went to many places where Sal and her grandparents talked about finally being able to see Sugar. On their way, however, Grams got bit by a poisonous snake and Gramps had to stay with her, so Sal got in the car, and drove all the way to her mother.
What Sal didn’t know was this: the bus her mother had left on had to travel through dangerous, winding roads. As she stopped and got off the truck, a man approached her and pointed down towards a metallic thing lying around a bunch of trees. It was the bus.
Sal returned home, heartbroken. Not only was her mother dead, but also her grandmother. But somewhere along the way, she decided to gather the courage to finally speak with Mrs. Cadaver: the only survivor of the accident. In the end, she told Sal this: she met Sugar on the bus, but after the accident, she tried and failed to save her. This had happened about a year ago. Sal eventually moved on and accepted the truth. The only thing that mattered for her now was to enjoy every last moment with her friends and family.
Comments My favorite thing about this book was how real it felt. Not only the characters, but the plot itself. To me, Sal sounded like she was an independent person, and not just the voice of the author. Reading the story felt as if Sal was right next to me, going through every aspect of her life. It was interesting how well Sal and Phoebe's stories fit together in the end. Most importantly though, was Sugar’s death. It shows just how much we’ll rely on hope even though common sense tells us it’s probably not going to happen. Sal kept secretly hoping her mom was going to come back, even though a part of her kept saying that it wasn’t going to happen.
This book represented a very real problem: abandonment. This causes so many problems, especially in younger people. Although Sal coped better than most, a lot of people would have the same reaction as Phoebe: denial. She chose to believe in a lie because at least it wasn’t as horrible as the truth: that her mother would willingly leave her. So she chose to tell herself that someone kidnapped her, just to feel a little better. Both Sal and Phoebe discovered who they
really were, or who they could be, and learned to appreciate what and who they’ve got. These experiences can change anyone, for better or worse.
However, there were many aspects of this book that seemed not only unnecessary, but sort of brought the book down. For example, the author pictured everyone as clueless, ignorant people and only Sal was wise because she had gone through loss. Also, there are many stereotypes, especially in the scenes at school. Apart from this is the fact that the author tried to include too many ideas in one book. The “mysterious” notes were misleading and completely unnecessary; they just served to add suspense to the story. Also, the scene where Grams got bit by a snake was very random, and seemed as if it was just put in as a second thought. Loss is tragic, and is an interesting theme for a book but at some points, Sharon Creech is just glorifying death and how much Salt supposedly learned after that. Also, there should be more content, less of Sal’s thoughts. A lot of chapters are mostly about what Sal thinks of others.
I think it would be interesting to add a few chapters from another character's’ perspective. For example, if some chapters were narrated by Sugar, the story would make a lot more sense. Some chapters could also be from Phoebe, Mrs. Winterbottom, Mrs. Cadaver and Mr. Hiddle.
If it were up to me, I’d add more scenes that would represent the idea of not judging others before walking in their shoes. To me, the title was creative but not really related to the story. The notes left at the house were an unnecessary detail that would’ve turned into something great if the author hadn’t spent so much time on a lot of other ideas that seem as if they were just combined together at the last minute. In conclusion, I loved how real the story felt, even with all it’s plot holes, because it expressed an impacting problem that was well written and well expressed.