This is the second of the Life Changing Novels Mondays, in which the digested remains of certain books are artfully arranged for your reading pleasure. Keep in mind that "artfully" is a subjective term.
I am infatuated with road trips. Driving (or being driven) long distances, being lulled to sleep by the hum of the engine, waking somewhere unknown and enticing. Road trips are beautiful things, especially if you're not the driver. The prospect of traveling somewhere fresh and perhaps better...
Walk Two Moons by children's author Sharon Creech is about a road trip. Many books (i.e. A Solitary Blue) contain road trips, but very few are actually about road trips, and even fewer are well-written.
Walk Two Moons is the story of Salamanca Tree Hiddle, a road trip, a lunatic, and of loving other people. I like it for its road trip, but also for the transparent writing (you've gotta to be clear when writing for children), endlessly intriguing plot (you've gotta be exciting when writing for children), and delicious characters.
Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers details our species' flaws; Walk Two Moons explains how to love... people. How to love people even when you know that they are infinitely flawed and that you are infinitely flawed and that love will always lead to pain (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and that love is currently socially unacceptable.
“It seems to me that we can’t explain all the truly awful things in the world like war and murder and brain tumors, and we can’t fix these things, so we look at the frightening things that are closer to us and we magnify them until they burst open. Inside is something that we can manage, something that isn’t as awful as it had a first seemed. It is a relief to discover that although there might be axe murderers and kidnappers in the world, most people seem a lot like us: sometimes afraid and sometimes brave, sometimes cruel and sometimes kind.”
Please, just know that this book is powerfully uplifting, and to achieve this sense of hope, it involves massive heartbreak. Read it for its beautifully unadulterated writing, its beautiful characters, its beautiful message, and... for its road trip.
Sharon Creech describes her reaction to winning the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons:
To say I was shocked is a vast understatement. I had no idea my book was even being considered, nor how the awards were made. I think I kept asking Kathleen Horning, "Are you kidding?" At the end of the call, the entire committee shouted (from the background), "Huzza, huzza!".
And that is why being a writer, an editor, doing anything literary seems so satisfying. Say "Huzza, huzza!" in any other job and people think you're a lunatic or a relic from the... 1800s? But for a reader, a writer, a listener, it is perfectly acceptable.