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Wild Life

– tekijä: Cynthia DeFelice

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
3231160,843 (3.83)3
When twelve-year-old Eric's parents are deployed to Iraq, he goes to live with grandparents he hardly knows in small-town North Dakota, but his grandfather's hostility and the threat of losing the dog he has rescued are too much and Eric runs away.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In a weird tale where running away from home fixes all your conflicts because your grandparents are nice like that, this book's not bad. It's obviously a manipulation of grief on Erik's part some, and kind of questionable as he technically grave robs, along with stealing someone's dog, but it's not the most putrid thing I've read.

The conflicts however are resolved in mere hours of his life.

Conflict: Erik is sent off by his parents before he can hunt.
Resolve: He ends up in nowhere North Dakota, finds a dog, and by the next day he's gone off to hunt illegally.

Conflict: Erik doesn't like where he's sent, his grandparents are cold and grieving and their daughter, his mother, obviously left and didn't look back.
Resolve: He takes the new dog he's found and leaves.

Conflict: Erik's bad at shooting.
Resolve: He remembers the lessons and shoots good.

Conflict: He's hungry.
Resolve: He finds mouse-chewed candy bars, chips, and soda that likely have been left out for a year in an abandoned house.

These are just a hand full of examples, there's at least four more I can think of off the bat, one of which is this one. His grandfather is cold and closed up and callous, even abrasive towards him. Erik runs away. When he comes back, his grandfather has been "fixed". That's not me saying it, his grandmother straight up calls it that. Him running away "fixed" his grieving grandfather and inspires him to be a better man. It's very questionable and I'm not sure that's the right message to send.

Then there is the line it ends on.

"I guess there's a lot of things I used to do." He looked at Erik. "Maybe I just wanted a boy to do 'em with."

The reason he stopped doing everything was he grieved over his dead son. In ways this ending leaves me feeling he's vicariously getting his son back through his grandson wearing his son's clothes. While that can be taken sweetly, it could also be disturbing. Especially given the almost abusive nature he was displaying before.

Recommend it for a read, but not as a keeper. ( )
  Yolken | Oct 28, 2019 |
This is a realistic fiction story about a 12 year old boy named Erik who has to go and live in North Dakota, with his grandparents, that he doesn't know very well, while his parents are deployed overseas with the Army Reserves. All Erik ever really wanted to do was go hunting and own his own hunting dog. Now that he is in North Dakota, he thinks his dreams will never come to pass, so he makes a choice to run away. Will he be able to survive on his own? Erik makes many discoveries about family secrets, commitment, survival,courage,and the power of love. This is a wonderful book for young men, in particular, but also for anyone who is wanting to be independent and follow their dreams. ( )
  R180Lisa | Feb 4, 2019 |
Erik is a young boy from North Dakota. He is left with his grandparents for six months while his parents both get deployed overseas. As he simply cannot stand it any longer, he decides to run away. He isn't going all alone though-he has his dog named Quill. To survive on his own (with Quill of course), he brings along his shotgun to hunt. Since he has a hunting license, he can hunt birds to serve as most of his meals. He later realizes that this was a mistake as he gets taken to the police station for a reward.

I thought that this book was okay. It wasn't my favorite just because it wasn't exactly realistic. How do people not think anything of a small boy walking down the road with a shotgun? The actual story though, was decent. I liked the adventurous way of Erik. This book is good for anyone that likes adventure books. Might be best for younger readers though. ( )
1 ääni jacobc.b1 | Jun 7, 2016 |
Twelve-year-old Erik Carlson has plans, big plans, He is finally old enough to get his New York State hunting license. He's passed the hunter safety course, and is actually going to go hunting with his friend Patrick, Patrick's dad, and their bird dog Hot Spots. But what good does it do for a kid to make plans? Suddenly, Erik's parent are deployed overseas as Army Reservists and he is sent to the Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, to live with grandparents he barely knows. Oma, his meek and mild grandmother, is okay. But why is his grandfather Big Darrell so mean? And what's the big deal about the closed room at the top of the stairs? When Erik finds and rescues a dog that's been stuck by a porcupine, Big Darrell says the dog can stay one night and no longer. But Erik has already named her Quill and can't bear to give her up. He sets off, taking the dog and a gun, determined that they can make it on their own out on the prairie. ( )
  jepeters333 | Jan 2, 2014 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 4-7

Plot Summary: Erik is so frustrated that he will be missing out on his very first weekend of hunting because his parents, who were in the reserve, were both called to Iraq for six months--and they leave in four days. According to the plan, he will go to his grandparents house in North Dakota. After a long day of travel, things at the house aren't much better. He gets no cell phone reception, they don't have a computer, and Big Darrell is super grumpy. He's not looking forward to starting at a new school and he feels like he's in the middle of nowhere. The next day, Big Darrell is helping with a beet harvest and Oma goes with a friend to church. Erik is exploring a bit and walks into Dan's room and remembers his mom talking about her brother. He is amazed it is so clean despite all of the stuff in the rest of the house. He explores outside and finds a dog who is covered in porcupine quills. He calls his Oma at the church to ask for help with the dog. She and the vet arrive at the same time. Once the quills are out, Erik asks to keep the dog. Oma reluctantly agrees because she knows Big Darrell has sworn off dogs since Elvis (Dan's dog). Big Darrell is furious when he gets home and insists that the dog must sleep in the barn. Erik sleeps in the barn too. The next day, both Oma and Big Darrell leave again and Erik dreads having to return the dog to the owner and having nothing to do. He decides to run away and live in the wild, the way he's always wanted. He packs his bag, takes a sleeping bag and gun from Dan's room, and heads out.

For the first two days, he lives off the food he packed as he struggles to hunt pheasants, despite Quill's talent at finding them. On the third day he remembers the advice Patrick's dad shared and successfully hunts his first animal. He feels mixed emotions of remorse of taking the life of another being and pride. He gets better as the next two days progress, but when he wakes up with snow on his face he stops at a barn for the night. A man finds him and tells Erik to get in the car so he can claim his $5000 reward. Erik runs off and walks the whole way home (in one night). How will Big Darrell and Oma react when they see him? What will his parents think? What will happen to Quill?

Setting: Upstate New York to Fortuna, North Dakota

Erik Carlson - 12 y/o, wants to live the "wild life," just got his certificate that allows him to hunt, convinced his mom to let him hunt explaining he wanted to be like a pioneer who lives off the land
Darlene - Erik's mom, feels pride in going to fight for her country, moved out of her parents house as quickly as possible because of her dad's coldness
Quill - the dog Erik finds
Patrick - Erik's friend, planning to go hunting with Patrick and his dad, has an English Settler names Hot Spots
Oma - AKA Grace, is warm and friendly but is also a little scared of Big Darrell, hasn't driven since being in two car accidents shortly after Dan died
Big Darrell - Erik's grandfather, quiet mostly but short and curt when he does speak, sold his farm land but still lives in the farm house and helps others with their harvest
Dan - died in Vietnam 34 years ago when Darlene was 14 y/o, Darlene's brother, his room is perfectly clean organized and dusted like a shrine
Dr. Bob - friend of Oma's who helps take the quills out of Quill for free, finds the owner of the dog
Mike Duvochin - Quill's owner, lives near Bismarck

Recurring Themes: loss, hunting, survival, dogs, hunting dogs, family, Iraq War

Controversial Issues:
pg 175 "You stole my dog. I was mad as hell."
pg 176 "Hell, I just want you to understand this dog is special."

Personal Thoughts: Eh, it was ok. Nothing horrible, but not too exciting either. I think it didn't have quite enough character development or quite enough survival in it. I felt like it was too predictable, and I was also frustrated that it only took Erik 1 night to walk all the way home when he traveled for 5 days.

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Action/Adventure

Pacing: Medium, things happen and there is survival in the second half of the book but it never gets quite to the life and death situations as most outdoor survival books
Characters: easy to figure out, not too many, not too deep

Activity: ( )
1 ääni pigeonlover | Dec 25, 2013 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia


When twelve-year-old Eric's parents are deployed to Iraq, he goes to live with grandparents he hardly knows in small-town North Dakota, but his grandfather's hostility and the threat of losing the dog he has rescued are too much and Eric runs away.

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