A mesmerizing memoir from a literary legend, giving readers a new perspective on the origins of Hatchet and other famed survival stories.
His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival adventures. Now, beloved author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.
An entrancing account of grit and growing up, perfect for newcomers and lifelong fans alike, this is the famed author at his rawest and most real.
In this third-person memoir told in five sections, Newbery Medalist Paulsen (Hatchet), best known for his riveting survival stories, shares the turbulent early life experiences that led to his writing career. After his mother finds munitions plant work in 1944 Chicago, "the boy," then five, accompanies her to bars and "sing to draw men" for her. Scandalized, his grandmother arranges for him to stay at his loving aunt and uncle's Minnesota farm. After a few idyllic months enjoying the outdoors, however, Paulsen's mother insists they join his father, \nstationed in Manila, but the overseas journey and witnessing brutal killings in the wake of WWII prove difficult. As a teen in North Dakota, Paulsen repeatedly runs away from his increasingly volatile parents and befriends a kind librarian, who encourages him to write. But it isn't until he enlists in the military and is faced with inflicting the same brutality that he saw in Manila that he knows he wants something different in life. Told in the third person, Paulsen's raw memoir renders "the boy" a curious and savvy protagonist who constantly forges ahead, resulting in a riveting, hopeful survival story about personal resilience amid trauma. Ages 8 12. \n