FATHER WATER, MOTHER WOODS by Gary Paulsen

FATHER WATER, MOTHER WOODS

Essays on Fishing and Hunting in the North Woods
Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like the adolescent boys that are their target audience, these reminiscences of boyhood hunting and fishing are awkward and intense. Paulsen (Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered, 1993, etc.) portrays the Minnesota rivers and forests where he and his friends sought adventure in the late 1940s as more than sites to snag fish or bag grouse: They were settings in which the boys both escaped and confronted life. Paulsen, the neglected son of alcoholic parents, identifies himself as "one of the wasted ones." Showing how he and his companions sought salvation in the wilderness, "where our lives didn't hurt," Paulsen's most powerful moment comes in an essay about shooting his first deer: "He wasn't sure what he expected if he actually hit a deer....When he missed he swore and made up an excuse....But he had no excuse for hitting a deer. And he wanted one badly." This is the same sense of shock and of the dreadful burden of freedom in the wild that we encounter reading Frost or Twain, and it's exquisite. Otherwise this book lurches between rambling recollection and vivid re-creation of the past and is often marred by stiff writing and passive constructions. Like much of the hunting it describes, this book has one hit among numerous misses. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-32053-1
Page count: 196pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1994




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