Bridge to Terabithia (Open spoilers)

First a side note, to remove spoiler material from the mouse-over territory…

Miss Edmunds, the music teacher, is being played by Zooey Deschanel, who was not even freaking BORN when the novel was first published.

Yes, that’s right. The GROWNUP in the story is portrayed by an actress ~20 years younger than I am, someone that, were I not married, I couldn’t even DATE because she’s too young.

How did I get this old?

OK, enough whining.

In the novel, which I read as a middle-schooler, Leslie dies. While that sucked in the context of the story, it’s also what made the story so compelling. But I cannot bring myself to believe they will bring that to film. It’s too much of a downer ending.

Will they? Did they?

I don’t see how they could get rid of her death. Without it, where’s the story?

“In a world where two kids become friends… The End.”

That’s a link to the other thread about this movie. It still doesn’t answer the OP’s question though.

‘Bridge to Terabithia’ movie? Oy. I read it in 5th grade (age 10) and it was way too much for my delicate flower self.

Why is so much (almost all) ‘Young Adult’ fiction filled with horrible death, disease, abuse, and torment? This is probably worth a separate thread, I know. Maybe I will start one.

I, too, can’t imagine what the point would be a of ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ movie without the death at the end. Unless Jesse thinks she’s dead but magically manages to save her or something…

Could someone summarize the story, or provide a link to a summary? I never read this when I was a kid, all I ever knew about it was “she dies in the end.”

Is the fantasy element real or imagined by the characters? I always had the impression that in this book, it was just their imagination. But like I said, I never actually read it.


I thought I remembered reading such a thread, but when I searched, the closest I could find was this: Damn you J.K. Rowling (potentially), which talks about the potential death of Harry Potter but also touches more generally on the subject of tragedy in children’s fiction (see, for example, its Post #25).

Here it is, in spoilers, just in case:

[spoiler]There’s this kid named Jess, who’s the middle kid in this big, poor, family, and is pretty much ignored by them. He likes to run and draw, but the only one who’ll support him in his drawing is his music teacher, Miss Edwards, who he sort of has a crush on. Everybody else teases him.

Anyway, just before fifth grade starts, this rich family moves in next door, and they have a girl his age, named Leslie, who’s a real tomboy. It turns out Leslie can run faster than anybody, faster than the boys, and even faster than Jess. She beats him in a race, and they become friends.

When they’re out exploring the woods behind their houses, they find this rope on a tree over a creek bed,and decide that that will be their “special place”. They decide that this land is the “Kingdom of Terabithia”, and that they’re the King and Queen. They build a treehouse there (a castle), and pretend to rule there. The only way to get to Terabithia is by using the Bridge to Terabithia, which is the rope swing.

Time passes, and they become even closer friends. Leslie is one of the few people who respects Jess’s drawings, and Jess is one of the few people who can deal with Leslie being a tomboy. They talk about all sorts of things, and Jess gets to know Leslie’s parents, who are novelists and liberal activists, and Jess comes to realize that there’s more to the world than just the conservative rural Virginia he’s used to.

Then one day, Miss Edwards takes Jess to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. He loves it, because finally he gets to see all the art he just dreamed about, and he decides he really can become a real artist. When he gets back, he wants to share that experience with Leslie, but finds out she died. She was on the rope swing, swinging to Terabithia, when she fell off and drowned in the creek.

Jess is devastated, and angry at Leslie for dying and leaving him. After going to a memorial service put on by her parents, he goes back to Terabithia, and, in a rage, destroys the paint and paper set that Leslie got him for Christmas.

The next day, he’s ashamed of himself. He goes back to Terabithia and builds a real bridge there, replacing the rope, and then he makes a wreath, and holds his own funeral for her there. Then, still feeling the need to do omore, and to share what Terabithia means with somebody else, he finds his little sister, who adores him, but who he’s ignored, the same way his parents and older siblings ignore him, and takes her there, crowning her the new queen of Terabithia.[/spoiler]