GARY PAULSEN by Edith Hope Fine

GARY PAULSEN

Author and Wilderness Adventurer
Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

In an above-average entry to an established series and a useful, modestly engaging biography, the author demonstrates that a careful, close reading of the Paulsen oeuvre and the judicious mining of selected biographical details can be shaped into an involving read. Fine (Under the Lemon Moon, 1999) clearly has read most of Paulsen’s autobiographical adult work, notably Eastern Sun Winter Moon (1993), though she assiduously avoids any overt references to alcohol use, sexuality, or violence and skips the scatological details so vividly presented in such juvenile works as Harris and Me (1993). Despite the well-laundered “life,” though, Fine does truly get Paulsen’s essence, and she effectively communicates the immense appeal he holds—especially for teenage boys. She marches the reader smartly through Paulsen’s life to date and makes efficient use of his interviews, speeches, and letters. However, those expecting a unique take on his career or aesthetic will need to look elsewhere. Any insights here are Paulsen’s own. Paulsen’s life experiences and distinctive voice come through loud and clear and both are central to this biography’s readability. Anyone new to Paulsen and his work will find a clearly blazed trail to map future reading, while Paulsen’s fans will experience an acute desire to reach for a favorite book. Libraries that experience heavy requests for author biographies or YA author criticism may want to stock up. Unfortunately, the high price and short discount may make multiples prohibitive. Still, those seeking a single monograph on this popular ALA/YALSA Margaret Edwards Award–winner will find this a useful resource. To be illustrated with black and white photos. (Index, notes, Web sites, bibliography) (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7660-1146-1
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Enslow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2000




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