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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

In this memoir, author Gary Paulsen shares insights he gains by observing animals and nature in rugged areas of Alaska and northern Minnesota.

The book begins with anecdotes about Paulsen’s life as a Minnesota outdoorsman. His encounters with animals, both wild and tame, change his views about trapping and killing for sport. When friends give Paulsen several sled dogs, he begins to bond with them and to view animals, in general, with a keener eye.

Watching his dogs, as well as wolves, deer, squirrels and other creatures in his area, he realizes animals are more aware and demonstrate more emotions than he’d previously realized. He also observes several animals hunting and killing one another. He notes the strength of their primal behaviors and cringes as he witnesses the bloody, horrific animal deaths in the wild.

Paulsen also shares a day-by-day account of his 17 days in the Iditarod. He talks about the behaviors and running patterns of his dogs at various points in the journey. He notes how the cold, wind and sheer exhaustion affect him physically and cause him to hallucinate. Despite the toll the race takes on his mind and body, he delights in the natural beauty that surrounds him and the feelings of exhilaration he experiences on the trip.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

None

Profanity/Violence

The Lord’s name is used in vain once, as are the words h--- and butt.

Paulsen describes wolves ripping a deer apart while the doe experiences a slow, painful death. On several occasions, he mentions the blood that soaks into animals’ fur while they’re consuming other animals. On a long sled run, one of Paulsen’s dogs begins to spray blood from his rear end. In the later stages of the Iditarod, Paulsen hacks up blood, mucus and vomit, which his dogs eat.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

10 to 14

Author

Gary Paulsen

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, a trademark of Simon & Schuster

Released

On Video

Year Published

2007

Awards

Midland Authors’ Book Award, 1991; Western Writers of America Spur Award, 1991 and others

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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