48 pages 1 hour read

Sharon Creech

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2003

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The Power of Storytelling

This novel relies heavily on storytelling, as demonstrated by its unique structure. Very little happens in the present tense of the novel. Granny Torrelli makes some food with Rosie and Bailey, and Janine comes in to ask Bailey a question. There is a brief visit to Bailey’s house. Nonetheless, the novel builds complex characters with rich backstories across both generations who support one another. This “good zuppa” is made possible through the shared work of storytelling. Granny Torrelli’s stories elicit memories and realizations from Rosie; in turn, Rosie’s concerns and experiences prompt Granny Torrelli toward certain memories. This interplay captures the unifying nature of storytelling.

Another dimension of the power of storytelling is its transformational nature. Storytelling can turn the raw ingredients of experience into meaningful, digestible lessons about life. Granny Torrelli, for example, is able to shape her vast and “tangled” memories into useful stories that impart to Rosie and Bailey what they need to know to move forward in their relationship. Rosie wishes to have “the things in your [Granny Torrelli’s] head inside my head” (48), but Granny Torrelli warns her against it, wishing instead to have “a young head like yours, instead of this old head of mine,” which is very “crowded” (48-49).