Walk Two Moons Summary

Sharon Creech

Walk Two Moons

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Walk Two Moons Summary

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Walk Two Moons is a young adult fiction novel written by Sharon Creech and published in 1994. Praised for its layered narrative and balance of humor as well as sadness, the book won the Newbery Medal in 1995. The novel’s significant themes include new relationships, grief, love, death, cultural identity, women’s roles as mothers and wives, the adventures of misunderstandings, and coming to terms with reality.

As the book opens, Salamanca Tree Hiddle is on a trip with her grandparents. They are traveling from Euclid, Ohio, to Lewiston, Idaho, to visit Sal’s mother’s grave. During this trip, Sal tells her grandparents about her best friend, Phoebe Winterbottom, whose mother unexpectedly left home, just like Sal’s. Sal and her father had left their farm in Kentucky to go to Ohio, where Sal met Phoebe.

After Sal’s mother’s death, her father befriends Margaret Cadaver, who lives in Ohio. Phoebe believes that there is a mysterious connection between the suspiciously named Mrs. Cadaver and the notes that keep showing up on her doorstep. Mrs. Cadaver is Phoebe’s neighbor, but there is also the strange neighborhood boy who Phoebe calls a lunatic. Sal gets caught up in this drama while also beginning a romance with Ben, a boy from school.

Sal shares stories of her loving mother, who was very similar to Phoebe’s mom. In South Dakota, Sal and her grandparents stop at the Missouri River to take a swim. A snake bites Gram’s leg, and they rush her to the hospital. Gram recovers, but her health is quickly faltering.

The narrative skips to the past, where Phoebe’s mom has suddenly disappeared without a trace. Phoebe, believing her to be kidnapped, searches for clues. Sal tells a story about her own mom. Sal had fallen from a tree and broken her leg. Her then-pregnant mother carried her home and then to the hospital, consequently losing the baby and nearly her life. Overwhelmed with grief, Sal’s mother took a solo trip to Idaho to visit a cousin—the same path Sal and her grandparents are following in the present.

Phoebe’s family, especially her father, grows more upset by the day. Phoebe and Sal offer the police the bits of evidence they have found. The strange “lunatic” boy is there as well and is revealed to be the police sergeant’s son. Later, Sal finds out that Mrs. Cadaver had experienced a tragedy a few years ago when a car accident killed her husband and blinded her mother.

Back in the present, Sal and her grandparents are at Old Faithful. Gram is recovering from the snakebite but seems to have trouble breathing. Regardless, she enjoys the geyser’s greatness. They soon leave Yellowstone National Park and continue on their journey. Sal resumes her story, feeling a need to finish it as soon as possible.

Sal and Phoebe find out that the sergeant’s son lives on a nearby college campus. Believing that he holds all the answers, they take a bus to the college to visit him. They find the boy and Phoebe’s mom sitting on a bench together, holding hands. Sal, overwhelmed with emotion, runs away from this scene. She runs into a mental hospital, where she is surprised to see Ben. He is there visiting his mother, a patient at the hospital. Sal and Ben share their first kiss.

Phoebe’s mother returns home after a few days. She explains that the boy is her son. She had never told her family about him, because she feared that they would be let down. The family is shaken, but they agree to listen to her story without judgement.

Sal decides this is a good time to make amends with Mrs. Cadaver, who explains that she was a close friend of Sal’s mom a long time ago. She befriended Sal’s father because she was one of the lone survivors who walked away from the accident that killed Sal’s mother. This meant she could give Sal’s father details about his wife’s last moments that no one else could.

Sal and her grandparents reach Coeur D’Alene, but Gramps and Sal have to rush onward to get Gram to a hospital. She is now gravely ill, so they hurry on. Gramps doesn’t want to leave Gram alone, so he lets Sal drive down the steep, dangerous road to the gravesite on her own. Sal makes the drive in the middle of the night and stops on the side of the road. It is exactly where the bus her mother was on had tumbled off the road and crashed. The bus is still there, and Sal inspects it. A sheriff arrives and tries to arrest Sal, but hears her story and understands. He drives her to her mother’s grave and then back to the hospital after that. She arrives to discover her grandmother has died.

Sal and her father go back to Kentucky. They try to rebuild their lives without Sal’s mother. Sal has made peace with her mother’s death and looks forward to each new day. She waits for her friends from Ohio to visit the farm.