Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
“Gramps says that I am a country girl at heart, and that is true.” (p. 1)
The country girl, Sal, retraces her missing mother’s steps across the
country with her grandparents while telling the story of her friend,
Phoebe, whose mother also left. Knowing that her own mother never
returned, Sal witnesses Phoebe experience similar emotions that Sal
felt when her own mother left.
long ago, when I was locked in a car with my grandparents for six days,
I told them the story of Phoebe, and when I finished telling them-or
maybe as I was telling them-I realized that the story of Phoebe was
like the plaster wall in our old house in Bybanks, Kentucky. On the
night that we got the bad news-that my mother was not returning-he
pounded and pounded on that wall with a chisel and a hammer. At two
o’clock in the morning, he came up to my room. I was not asleep. He
led me downstairs and showed me what he had found. Hidden behind the
wall was a brick fireplace.
The reason that
Phoebe’s story reminds me of that plaster wall and the hidden fireplace
is that beneath Phoebe’s story was another one. Mine.”(p.3)
The book takes place across the Midwest. Sal’s first and favorite home
was in Bybanks, Kentucky. This farmland was the only place Sal had
ever lived, and everything there reminds her of her mother. She and
her father move to Euclid, Ohio, a small suburban town that provided
her father a way to stop grieving and obsessing about his wife. Sal
and her grandparents travel from Euclid, Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho, the
place where her mother fled to. Along the way, Sal stops in all the
places that her mother wrote postcards from, including Mt. Rushmore and
The story revolves around self-discovery and the importance of family.
Sal’s mom, Chanhassen, left her family to figure out who she was before
she was a wife and mother. While retracing her mother’s footsteps, Sal
realizes why her mother left and learns about herself in the process.
Phoebe’s mother also leaves to find out who she really is and how she
can be a more helpful mother and a better person overall.
also realized that there were good reasons why my father didn’t take me
to Idaho when he got the news of her death. He was too grief-stricken
and was trying to spare me. Only later did I understand that I had to
go and see her for myself. He was right about one thing, though: we
didn’t need to bring her body back because she is in the trees, the
barn, the fields.” (p. 276)
Death fills Sal’s life with sadness as three of her family members die
during the course of the book. Sal partially blames herself for each
of the three family deaths, creating an internal conflict. At first,
Sal is told by the wind to hurry and rush, but as she advances in her
journey, she is told to slow down. Much anticipation is caused by the
voices as Sal waits to encounter her mother and imagines how relieved
she will be after they meet.
Much like myself, Sal relies on her friends to help her figure out who
she is, and to help her cope with the fact that her mother will never
come back. I also talk to friends in order to gain perspective on
certain situations, and I lean on them when I am feeling melancholy.
Sal shares her feelings about her own mother’s departure with her
friend Phoebe when Phoebe’s mother takes off. The two girls are able
to commiserate with each other. Similarly, when I share negative
experience with someone, such as losing a championship basketball game,
I feel better after I share my feelings and thoughts about the event
with a teammate. Sal’s life connects to mine in this way.
Initially, Sal ignores Margaret Cadaver and avoids her at all cost.
Because Mrs. Cadaver spends so much time with Sal’s father, Sal begins
to associate cruel thoughts with Mrs. Cadaver and she makes up nasty
stories about her. Sal ultimately realizes that her father was close
to Margaret because Margaret became acquainted with Chanhassen during
the journey to Lewiston. Sal begins to feel comfortable with Mrs.
Cadaver, and Mrs. Cadaver and her elderly mother awaken Sal to the
world around her. As she picks up hints from various notes left by
Margaret’s mother on Phoebe’s doorstep, Sal learns how to deal with her
grief and loss.
“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins…
You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you
can keep them from nesting in your hair.” (p. 185)
Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons
is a fiction story full of metaphors, personification, and
foreshadowing. Creech constantly gives hints and clues about the end
and, because of Sal’s former farm life, frequently gives the trees and
wind humanlike characteristics. The personification allows the reader
to see how much Sal misses her farm and country lifestyle. The
metaphors and foreshadowing help the reader see life through Sal’s
perspective and how she will feel once she finds her mother in Lewiston.
I would give this Newbery Award winning book three stars. The book
should be awarded such a high rating because the story is thought
provoking, has a strong impact on the reader, and effectively uses
literary techniques that help to thoroughly engage the reader. The
story taught me some valuable lessons in human psychology and opened my
eyes to people’s emotions and motivations. I learned about how people
feel about lost loved ones and that they need time to cope with the
death before interacting with other people again. In order to see how
others are feeling, I now try to do what Sal did and look at the world
around me from other people’s perspectives. By looking at the world
through different shoes, I realize why people make decisions that they
do and how they feel about different events. Sharon Creech’s masterful
use of foreshadowing and metaphors sucked me in from the first
chapter. This book would interest both males and females ages nine and
up. No matter what the reader’s age, Sal’s story is bound to change
his or her outlook on life forever.Marty October 2005