Sam Gribley runs away from his overcrowded apartment in New York to live off the land in the Catskill Mountains.
There are distinct echoes of Robinson Crusoe.
This is the ultimate boy's own adventure (written by a woman). Sam survives by eating plants and trapping animals and digging for mussels and catching fish; he makes fire, his own clothes and a shelter. He befriends weasels and raccoons and trains a falcon. But the hardest challenge is, perhaps, to live on his own.
The joy of the book is the way the narrative is peppered with little notes, as if they are diary entries, many of which gives clear practical tips about how to stay alive in the wilderness, so that the reader is persuaded that it might be possible for a kid to run away and live off the land. It's a clever artifice, like footnotes giving verisimilitude.
This reminded me of Swallows and Amazons which feels like an adventure story but is grounded in a huge amount of technical detail about sailing.
I noted that the narrative starts at a moment of great drama, when Sam is snowed in at winter, and only after this prologue does the linear narrative begin.
A great story but I doubt I'll read the sequel(s). Because this story is unique.
|This review was written by |
the author of Motherdarling