I've been ticked at Amazon for the last few weeks. I'd placed an order with a gift certificate in early January, but only one of the two books came (The Virgin Suicides, which is on the waiting list for now). Bridge to Terabithia refused to show up in our mailbox. Seeing as how the movie came out the day we returned from Europe, I was getting really antsy. I couldn't possibly see it before reading it. I finally checked my Amazon account, and as it turns out, I didn't order BtT after all. I ordered one of Katherine Paterson's ever-so-slightly obscure nonfiction titles, which would take a couple months to round up, wouldn't it?
So I bought my $6.99 trade paperback copy, and started reading.
Oh, I loved it. Jess and Leslie's imaginations remind me so much of the games my best friend and I played in elementary school.
Lara and I decided to see it Friday afternoon, which put me on a tight schedule for reading. I finished the book about fifteen minutes before we left for the movie. Which is to say I spent hours and hours weeping on Friday - just one long Terabithia cry.
I really, really liked the movie. Film rarely captures the interiority of a book, but the visual interpretations were lovely and felt just right.
There was only one scene that was different in a bad way. Unfortunately, it was one of the most powerful and grace-filled moments in the book. I don't want to give anything away should anyone wish to go on a similar Terabithia bender. But there is a time when Jess chooses his language carefully, and the language he uses is profoundly sacred and also exactly what his character would say in that moment. They are big words spoken by a boy who has suddenly, necessarily, become much bigger. But in the movie the line is deflated, cleansed of its etymology and, in turn, its grace. I'm sure it made the film more palatable for general audiences, but at a cost.
Nevertheless, I couldn't recommend Bridge to Terabithia more. Just read the book first.