Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
Beware of reading further if you haven't read this amazing book yet. The ending will blow your mind.
Sharon Creech spent three years finishing this book (source). And that makes sense to us. The ending of this book is like poetry, and poetry takes time to percolate. Are we right, or are we right?
At the end of Walk Two Moons, Sal, her father, and Gramps return to their farm in Bybanks, Kentucky. They bury Gram, and life returns to almost-normal. Sal has made peace with her mother's death in a way, although she still misses her. She misses her friends in Ohio, too, but Mrs. Cadaver, Mrs. Partridge, Phoebe, Ben, and Mr. Birkway are all going to visit Sal next month.
Two huge things happen at the very end of this story, and one big secret is revealed. We realize for the first time that Sal's mom actually died in a horrific bus accident in Lewiston, Idaho. Up until this point, we readers had no idea what had happened to Chanhassen Hiddle; all we knew was that she had left home and that she is somewhere in Idaho. On the day that Sal drives her grandfather's car down winding roads to the site of her mother's death, her grandmother also dies from a stroke. Sal finds herself in the middle of thunderstorm of grief.
But none of that is, strictly speaking, the ending. The ending comes later, when Sal's back in Bybanks and looking back over the past year or so of her life. The last chapter is like a wide angle shot of Sal's days in Bybanks, and it's very rewarding to see how she's doing.
For one thing, it's clear that she has gone through a transformation. She has become incredibly strong and she has learned to forgive and understand her mother more than ever before. Sal is able to live her life, grow, and love more fully and completely than ever before.
She's still got some room for improvement – a fact we think she'd be totally willing to admit – but overall we have high hope for our girl's happiness. What about you?