|Gone to the woods : surviving a lost childhood|
Author: Paulsen, Gary
Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments in his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.90
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 511602
School Library Journal (00/02/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2020 Paulsen mines his hardscrabble childhood to create this middle-grade memoir, divided into five titled sections that highlight significant events that shaped his life. He recounts a solo train trip from Chicago to northern Minnesota at age 5 (The Farm); his introduction to canoeing, camping, fishing, and harvesting mushrooms with Uncle Sig (The River); his journey across the Pacific to the Philippines to meet his father (The Ship); his love of reading and writing, which blossomed at the public library (Thirteen); and his impulsive enlistment in the army at age 17 (Soldier). Overall a grim saga of survival (in particular, avoiding his drunken, abusive parents), the narrative includes lighter moments as well: slipping into a train toilet at age five, defending himself from some meddlesome farm geese, and accepting the soothing ministrations of a ship's steward who treated him for chickenpox. Employing a somewhat rambling, conversational style, Paulsen creates a safety zone for readers unprepared for his stark realities, while allowing others to fully comprehend. Beautifully written, Paulsen's memoir demonstrates that good can triumph over bad beginnings.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With three Newbery Awards in his rucksack, Paulsen writes reliably great books, and everybody will want to get their hands on his latest. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 7 Up—Paulsen's autobiography for middle schoolers reads quite a bit like his "Hatchet" series because of his turbulent childhood and teen years. The text is organized into five sections: "The Farm," "The River," "The Ship," "Thirteen," and "Soldier." Each chapter describes a turning point or defining moment in Paulsen's life. The second and fourth sections show the influences that would eventually lead to the "Hatchet" series. In "The River," a very young Paulsen is taken on a canoe trip into the forest to pick mushrooms. The trip allows Paulsen to fall in love with the woods. He learns how to fish, light a fire, paddle a canoe—skills his characters need to use in Hatchet. Later, the woods become a refuge from drunken, abusive parents. Paulsen is mostly sustained by what he can scrounge and catch. The book chronicles his younger years and includes some difficult topics, such as living in an armed conflict zone and watching people drown during a boat trip. He battles poverty, neglect, and uncertainty, but he does overcome these challenges to become an admired author, which ultimately offers an inspiring narrative. There is some graphic and violent content that takes place in Manila during an armed conflict and some scenes on the high seas, which may not be appropriate for younger students. Overall, this exciting, fast-paced title reads like fiction. The tone matches Paulsen's style and echoes themes from his novels. VERDICT A wonderful way to introduce middle grade and high school readers to the excitement and beauty of biographies.—Sara Kundrik, Gilbert Paterson M.S., Alta. - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.