Salamanca Tree Hiddle, or Sal, is the main character in Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons. In this story, Sal goes on a road trip with her grandparents to find her mother. Along the way, Sal tells stories to her grandparents that help the reader weave together the web of her life. One story that Sal tells her grandparents on this trip is about her friend Phoebe Winterbottom and Phoebe's mother, who is missing.
Sal likes Phoebe for many reasons. Firstly, Phoebe is a little odd. She has an active imagination that often gets her into trouble, one example being when she claims that Sal's neighbor chopped up her husband and buried him in the backyard. She is undoubtedly Sal's best friend. Sal likes that Phoebe is good at judging other people, while Phoebe likes that Sal is mature. Another reason that Sal likes Phoebe is that they have many things in common. They are both dealing with deep issues, such as their mothers being in hiding. Ultimately, Sal sees herself in Phoebe.
Like with most friendships, Sal does get annoyed with Phoebe at times. However, Phoebe is extremely loyal and kind, which makes her a great friend.
Sal really likes Phoebe, despite Phoebe’s wild ideas and her annoying comments to people (like Phoebe’s telling Mr. Finney not to eat any of the food because of the cholesterol). She finds herself drawn to Phoebe and is fascinated with her for some reason that she cannot yet explain to herself. She can see that, underneath all this, Phoebe is someone who is scared, and this is the reason that she acts this way. Deep down, Sal likes Phoebe because she herself is scared. The girls both go through the experience of their mothers leaving the family. Sal begins to see herself in Phoebe. She wonders if perhaps Phoebe may have contributed to her mother’s unhappiness, just as she begins to wonder if she did the same thing to her mother. She sees Phoebe’s failure to adequately handle her feelings about her mother, just as she herself has done. As she begins to help Phoebe face the facts, Sal begins to accept her own mother’s departure.