My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book at age nine, and proceeded to write my first novel afterwards. It was basically my own version of the story, told with me as the protagonist. I was enthralled with the book, and enamored of the idea of running away and living successfully--without my family! Freedom from angst!
So...fast forward a few decades and I really did become an author. More years pass, and now finally I have re-read the book that, for me, started my writing career.
Like many of my childhood favorites, the book is not as good to my adult sensibilities. I take issue with things that never bothered me as a youngster. What kind of parents allow a child to live alone on a mountain for a year? Some of Sam's activities are extremely doubtful. How does a young boy manage to make himself deerskin clothing? Tan hides with no prior experience? Kill and eat turtle and rabbit without having instruction on how to do so? Even dressing deer is not exactly intuitive. And recognize with certainty so many wild edibles-when he is a city boy?
Nevertheless, some of the charm remains, and I still recommend this for any youngster. Also, since I now write apocalyptic suspense (in addition to my first published books, which are historical romance) I marvel that in a way I've come full circle: Survival is the name of the game, for Sam, and for the characters in my PULSE EFFEX SERIES. I love the living- off-the-land details, whether Sam is too wise to be realistic or not. I have also just read the sequel, which is not as good, but also worthwhile.
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