Part Native-American. Part White American. All courageous.
That’s how I would sum up this Newberry Medal-winning book. It follows the life of Salamanca, which is turned both inside-out and upside down with the sudden, mysterious disappearance of her mother. A new best friend in Phoebe Winterbottom, a strange neighbor, and a life changing road-trip with her grandparents ultimately reveal her mother’s whereabouts.
Through out this beatiful book, Salamanca never breaks down and cries, nor does she suffer from large bouts of depression. This is admirable, as today’s author’s of tween/teen fiction appear to believe that all teenagers are moody, uncommunicative zombies. If the protagonist was such a teenager, nobody would find fault with her for being so, but it wouldn’t make a very interesting read. Instead, Salamanca takes the mystery of her mother’s disappearance head on, and lives her life like any other thirteen-year-old girl.
The majority of the story is told, as Salamanca, or Sal, regales her grandparents with stories of what happened at school to make the long hours on the road pass by. These stories are told as they travel to where her mother was last said to be. Salamanca’s entire life till date is unfurled, like one of those odd, rare flowers that bloom only once a decade, in talking to her Gram and Gramps. Their witty, quirky comments on what she tell them only adds to the charm of the book. However, in the last few pages, two tragedies unfold, leaving you with a bittersweet taste as you close the book.
On the whole, Walk Two Moons is a really remarkable story, the sort that you might read several times and gain different perspectives with each. A tad old-fashioned maybe (it was written in the mid 1900s) but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.