This book has settled me with so many strange feelings. Considering I've read one other book by the author, I expected what was going to happen towards the end of the book. By now, since the movie's been out and all (and which I've never seen), I'm sure most people have had the book's "big twist" spoiled utterly for them, but... I expected tragedy and heartbreak, because, like I've said, I've been exposed to this author before and Katherine Paterson has left me no fan of hers at all. However, since both my sister and best friend told me I should give this book a shot, I decided to sit down and read it through.
It turned out to be a far more hopeful and beautiful book by the ending than I thought Katherine Paterson had it in her to write. For the first time I saw tragedy that I expected and was greeted with the unexpected twist that joy and happiness was given afterwards. Hope was there, at the end. Promise was in the last sentences she wrote. It was a beautiful ending. As beautiful as anything I've ever read. And while I will not let up on the author for writing the hopeless, horrible ruin of The Great Gilly Hopkins, I can admit that my heart has warmed to her and found peace in Bridge to Terabithia. I hope she has grown, and I hope she will not ever write a children's book again whose last message is one of no hope and no joy, of love unreturned and unfulfilled.
Bridge to Terabithia is a book of promise and of hope even in the face of tragedy, and even when you're the last one left standing, needing to endure it for the rest of your life. It's a story that has its faults as well as any other book, and yet which can kindle the best of emotions within a person that reads it. It's a story that I would be glad to pass down to my child, knowing that while it contains cruel and terrible heartache, it also contains a path to life where that heartache can be dealt with, and can lead to joy again.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of imagination and adventure, of growing up and facing reality, but of never losing touch with the magic that life offers, and which can be within each of us. Yes, it's a book that will hurt. But it's also a book that will heal.
If you haven't already read it, please do. It's one of those that's worth your time.