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The Broken Bridge

The Broken Bridge

3.5 4
by Philip Pullman

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At 16, Ginny finds that her love of painting connects her to the artistic Haitian mother she never knew and eases the isolation she feels as the only mixed-race teen in her Welsh village. When she learns she has a half-brother by her father's first marriage, her world is shattered. Ginny embarks on a quest for the truth that will allow her to claim her artistic


At 16, Ginny finds that her love of painting connects her to the artistic Haitian mother she never knew and eases the isolation she feels as the only mixed-race teen in her Welsh village. When she learns she has a half-brother by her father's first marriage, her world is shattered. Ginny embarks on a quest for the truth that will allow her to claim her artistic heritage--and face her father.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The emotional truths that Pullman reveals are so heartfelt and raw that they hardly read like fiction."--(starred) Publishers Weekly.

"An intriguing mystery that keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages until the very end."--Horn Book.  

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW commented that the author ``deftly interweaves strong themes'' in this ``moving'' tale of a half-black teenager growing up in rural north Wales. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
An outsider in her Welsh village sixteen-year-old Ginny discovers that she has a white half-brother. She then sets out to learn the truth and begins to understand the vague memories of her childhood. This compelling story received a starred review in School Library Journal.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Ginny has always believed that she and her father form a perfect family unit. Though she's curious about her Haitian mother, who passed away soon after Ginny was born, she's content to live an idyllic life with her father in their coastal Wales village. She works at two local restaurants and pursues her passion for drawing in her spare time. Then Ginny receives shocking news: she has a white half-brother, Robert, who is coming to live with them because his mother has died. Ginny and Robert hate each other on sight, but as family secrets start to emerge they begin working together to get the facts. Ginny learns that her father was never married to her mother, but was actually married to Robert's mother. Dim memories of a foster home coincide with the discovery that her father may have been in jail. Most unbelievable of all, Ginny's mother may be alive. Ginny's quest for her identity is inextricably linked to her ethnicity, her feelings of being an outsider in her community where she is one of only two people of color, and her love of art. Though Ginny is remarkably innocent for a 16-year old, overall Philip Pullman's novel (LaurelLeaf, pap. 1994) about family and identity stands the test of time. Mariam Margolyes masterfully voices both female and male characters, though some of the Welsh phrases may confuse listeners. This gentle, moving listen, with a pinch of voodoo, is a welcome change of pace from edgier selections.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.83(h) x 0.57(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017.  
Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra’s Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess; The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge.
Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.

Brief Biography

Oxford, England
Date of Birth:
October 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Norwich, England
Exeter College, Oxford University

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Broken Bridge 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
jamsreadsbooks 17 days ago
Wow. This is perhaps one of the best books about identity and race that I’ve ever read. Ginny is half Haitian, half Welsh and lives in a small, isolated village where the overwhelming majority of the population is white. She experiences a steady stream of racism and feels trapped in a grey area between black and white. As a mixed woman I found myself relating to Ginny on a deeply personal level, having gone through the very same struggles in my youth. The first half of the book is admittedly slow, it took a while for me to really get into it. The writing was good, exceptionally so, but the plot felt lost. I realized why this was once the story really got rolling: the plot seemed lost because Ginny herself feels lost as she searched for her place in the world. To cope Ginny creates her own world through art, but even in the world of painting she finds herself dealing with questions of race. The second most important aspect of the story deals with familial relationships. The struggles between husband and wife, the bond between parent and child, the companionship between siblings, and the blurry line between friends and lovers. The relationships in this small town are complicated, the people are complex and incredibly flawed. The characters are constantly challenged to face their mistakes, to learn to forgive themselves and to forgive others, and to begin rebuilding the broken bridges between family. A wonderful story that is absolutely worth reading to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It made you feel like you were one of the main character's friends. This book was not only entertaining but you won't want to put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a very avid reader, and I usually do not dislike the books that I read, but this one was terrible. I am a Philip Pullman fan (not big enough to have read everything written by him, but I do like some of his books), but I was extraordinarily disappointed by this book. It was very slow, and very dull. I would NOT recomend this book to anyone looking for a good read.