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King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
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King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,230 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
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A good reason to be phobic about oysters and olives?

How shutting your mouth can help you avoid brain surgery?

How to survive in the winter wilderness with only a fishing pole and a sausage?
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 5th 2004 by Greenwillow Books (first published April 1st 2003)
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DCPL's Teen Humor Booklist
43rd out of 80 books — 173 voters
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10th out of 12 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,237)
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Dec 05, 2010 karen rated it really liked it
i love chris crutcher

if oddballs was augusten burroughs for the younger generation, chris crutcher is their david sedaris. both books are humorous essays involving childhood and family and all the tales of things that happen to shape a boy into a man, but crutcher just has better stories. and a more genial approach to telling them. part of this is due to a complete lack of vanity on his part; a trait those sedaris kids have in spades. seemingly unconcerned about how he appears to others, crutc
Lars Guthrie
May 19, 2008 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing
Now I've read "Ironman," "Stotan," "Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes," and most recently, "Deadline." In some ways, Crutcher always does the same thing (confronting uncomfortable themes in a gripping story), but he does it so well. So this autobiography is my favorite so far because it told me why. It also contains so much wisdom. Some examples:

"No one is pretty; no one is ugly. There is no Jesus without Judas, no Martin Luther King, Jr., without the Klan; no Ali without Joe Frazier; no freedom with
May 04, 2015 Donalyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-nonfiction, audio
Listening to this audiobook was like taking a roadtrip with Chris while he regaled me with stories about his life.
Jun 27, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Great to read about how his experiences play into his writing. He is a great writer.
Nov 30, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it
I feel like I am a bit embarrassed that I have never heard of Chris Crutcher, apparently famed, occasionally banned, author of popular young adult fiction. But, I love a good, funny memoir, so I picked this one up anyway. This collection meanders through a variety of personal experiences, hilariously told, of the author's mostly early years of life. In tales reminiscent of something like "A Christmas Story," with nostalgic tales of simpler days, the author shares experiences from his painfully d ...more
Kristen Brooks
Mar 16, 2016 Kristen Brooks rated it it was amazing
What an awesome autobiography. It is clear that Chris Crutcher seamlessly weaves the characters, settings and themes of his life throughout this book. In addition, as I'm reading his fiction with my students, it's impossible for me to not think of how all of these stories have been the building blocks of his short stories and novels. He's the perfect subject for an author study because of this, and my students are gaining so much in both the areas of reading like a writer and reading like a read ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is a great book. I chose to read it because I needed to read a book by someone from my hometown. Well, home state had to be close enough. Crutcher knows how to tell a story with a sucker punch at the end. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Jul 10, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, memoir, 2010
I read this for part of my memoir project for YA lit. I've enjoyed Crutcher's fiction and I also enjoyed reading his autobiography. He reveals his childhood and motivations in creating his characters. I especially liked the last few chapters, where Crutcher discusses being a therapist and the anti-heroes that he develops for his novels. The book did, however, feel very unorganized and jumpy. Despite the fact that I wanted to reorganize pretty much every chapter, I loved this book for the honesty ...more
Dec 06, 2014 Jse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4250-smithy
A work of non-fiction but with a heavy narrative voice. In fact, Crutcher is a master story-teller. After reading Whale Talk and reading into Crutcher's real life experiences, I was excited to hear stories from his youth and his reflections on what drives his writing and characters. It was apparent to me that Crutcher, though a natural story-teller, is/was not a trained writer and he admits as much crediting his editors for their help. I think this is what I like about him -- he works hard in ho ...more
Jen Baker
Jun 03, 2014 Jen Baker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, memoirs
In February, I heard Chris Crutcher speak at the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA) and he talked about his life. I laughed so hard I nearly cried, so I immediately added his memoir to my to read list. It did not disappoint.

Chris tells about his life growing up in the small town of Cascade, Idaho, and how his childhood influenced his career in writing. He talks about his brother, who could make anything sound "neat", which usually led Chris to get into trouble. He also ta
Kelsey O'Brien
King of the Mild Frontier is a collection of stories from the childhood of popular sports-themed author Chris Crutcher. You might think from the content of his books that Chris was always a great athlete - but he was actually pretty awful. At his small rural school in 1950's Idaho it's expected that if you're a guy, you play sports. But Chris is not a natural-born athlete. He's too small to be a football player, and he gets his tooth knocked out during a baseball game, but his junior year he dec ...more
Robert Coon
Mar 17, 2014 Robert Coon rated it it was amazing
I randomly picked this book because the picture captured me and it says it is an "ill-advised" autobiography. I thought it is a humorous book. I really enjoyed it and found it easy to read.
This is an autobiography of Chris Crutcher and it is about his childhood stories. His childhood has many adventures. Many of his stories have to do with his older brother who always gets him in trouble and rarely ever got in trouble himself because he would make stuff up on the spot so he would not get in tr
I really enjoyed listening to Chris narrate the audio version of this memoir. What really stood out for me was chapter 13, which is where he justifies the strong language and less-than-pretty situations he writes about in his books and why he will always write about controversial topics. I immediately ordered a copy of the book after reading that chapter. I will give it to any parent or administrator who challenges a book in my classroom.
Feb 03, 2016 David rated it liked it
King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books 2003) (813.54). Chris Crutcher has written a charming tale of growing up in a small town in Idaho in the 1960's and 1970's. Crutcher was the kid you knew who was always in trouble; you loved him when the pranks were harmless, but he could cross the line and make you want to strangle him as well. The author tells how his father gave him the nickname “Lever” as a child, for he was “nature's simplest tool.” ...more
Chris Crutcher's childhood in Cascade, Idaho is artfully told with wit, humor, anger, and a TON of great great stories. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, whether or not they had read any of Crutcher's other books -- Crutcher's young life was hilarious and sad, and above all, Crutcher is a great storyteller.
Cody Wood
Oct 06, 2010 Cody Wood rated it it was amazing
i think that this was a great story about chris crutcher temper tantrumes when he was littler.It show how he have matured a little when he got older.this is a great autobiography to read if you enjoy story on child hood memorys.
Sep 15, 2014 Carole rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books-read
Chris Crutcher wrote an autobiography of mostly his elementary through college years. It's not a from beginning to end story. Each chapter is a stand-alone reminesence of a certain incident or a certain time. Sometimes the story is sad, others it's funny. He writes young adult novels for the most part and has, as he proudly points out, been on the banned list from the ALA annual banned list on several occasions for either objectional language or supposedly inappropriate topics. You have to remem ...more
Tracey Hanna
Jan 24, 2016 Tracey Hanna rated it liked it
Chris Crutcher brings his sense of humor and realism into his autobiography, and sums up a lot of his books in the process.

I was really surprised by how much both of the Chris Crutcher books, Whale Talk and The Sledding Hill, were influenced by real life events. I was also surprised by how much I recognized my nerdy younger self (not that I am no longer a nerd) in his obsession with the coonskin cap and inability to succeed at athletics. It came across as a very real, although disjointed, autobi
Aug 05, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Absolutely a must read for a reluctant boy reader 8th grade and above, due to content and language. Chris is a character for sure! I could vividly picture many of the things he recounted about his life. From the Oreo Cookies, to the pimple, to the scab to the baseball bat, to the 'esus' saves...this book will have you giggling with grossness or from simple stupidity. Chris does also hit more serious topics of relationships, addiction, and death as well, but overall a great read. I lov ...more
Bill Littell

Crutcher shows us the life that makes it clear where his stories get their guts and grit. Often, while reading this, I got Robert Fulghum vibes (great anecdotes the writer uses to pull wonderful insights about life).

More than ever, after reading this autobiography, I feel Crutcher, the writer (and human), is for real. Not only are his characters three-dimensional and admirably flawed, many express an atypical heroism that makes the reader grateful for more sophisticated young-adult f
Jan 10, 2009 Bev rated it really liked it
Chris might not be too happy to hear that I found this book at a library sale where the books were five for a dollar! As a big Crutcher fan, I nabbed it immediately, and it still holds an honored place on my bookshelf. It's both hilarious and profound, and boy, do I wish I had been able to read it when I was a teen. I might have saved myself a lot of angst and misery if I had heard this kind of wisdom:

"It's easy to look back and say if things had been perfect, I could have accommodated all of th
Ever wonder what childhood was like for your favorite author? Not just the “born in the country, raised in a log cabin,” sort of thing, but the embarrassing, mind-boggling moments in high school or church or on the summer job? Well here’s your answer. Chris Crutcher writes his own ill-advised biography that will answer a lot of your questions about how he started writing and where his stories come from. Did you ever ask yourself how the term Stotan came into existence? Or how the author got the ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Wolfman rated it really liked it
I found this book in a used book store a couple months ago, and I picked it up because I have always enjoyed Chris Crutcher's novels. Sometimes I shy away from autobiographies of my favorite authors because I find that I prefer the characters they create in their fiction to their own voices. In this case, however, Crutcher's voice is fairly close to many of the narrators he has created, a fact that I could have guessed given the fact that I had noticed the similarity in those narrative voices af ...more
May 11, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs.  Taylor
Dec 06, 2012 Mrs. Taylor rated it it was ok
I was interested to read this book since I really enjoyed Chris Crutcher's "Running Loose." However I didn't really enjoy this book. It just had lots of anecdotes, and little gems from his life. For a young adult book there were so many references that as a 22 year old I didn't understand. It seemed to me to be an opportunity for him to just talk about himself and justify controversial subjects he writes about. He is very unapologetic about using language and racy topics,
Debora Ryan
Aug 06, 2012 Debora Ryan rated it really liked it
Chris Crutcher's unlikely heroes and heroines captured my heart from the very beginning. Add to that a fluid writing style and a wonderful wit, and you definitely have my attention. In reading Crutcher's bio, I understand where he gets his inspiration. As a writer, I understand how people and events become twisted (or not) and find their way into our stories. The insight into his characters, though, is secondary for his hilarious spin on events that might have ruined anybody's life. I love his l ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a chuckle
I picked up this book in the library a few weeks before Christmas because I was thinking of giving it to my dad for the holidays. I intended to skim it and leave it behind, but ended up wholly engrossed in it. I checked it out and brought it home for some fireside giggling.

Chris Crutcher is a funny guy, and he always has been. That's all there is to it. The autobiography, as most autobiographies are, is somewhat rambling and sometimes point-less (perhaps because in real life every experience we
Oct 12, 2012 Ozboz rated it really liked it
“King of the Mild Frontier” by Chris Crutcher

King of the mild frontier is a memoir, it takes place in Cascade, Idaho. It is about a guy named Chris Crutcher and how he grew up, also it tells how he dealt with his anger issues, or more of how his mom dealt with his anger issues. Throughout his life he would always have some problem with one person in his life and he would end up in his own world when he gets to angry, and starts breaking things.

It is a good read for readers who enjoy funny and
Claire Caterer
Sep 15, 2015 Claire Caterer rated it it was amazing
I have rarely raced through such a delightful and laugh-out-loud funny memoir as this one. I had the honor of hearing Chris speak at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in New York this past weekend (January 25-26, 2012); he had all 1,000 of us in the room cupped in his hand from the beginning to the end of the speech. When I asked him to sign my book, I confessed to him that one minute I was crying about his stories as a therapist for abused children, and the next ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Kaelie added it
This book was really funny. It is placed in the 1950's and the set up is typical of what we learn about the 50's. The book goes through Crutcher's experiences as he grew up in Idaho. Some of his experiences are laughable and others we can relate too. Cruthcher did very with this book, I felt like he did a great job st bringing people into his books because he writes in such a way that he becomes relatable to many adults who had similar childhoods
Some swearing.
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Chris Crutcher's writing is controversial, and has been frequently challenged and even banned by individuals who want to censor his books by removing them from libraries and classrooms. Running Loose and Athletic Shorts were on the ALA's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. His books generally feature teens coping with serious problems, including abusive parents, racial ...more
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“As a child abuse and neglect therapist I do battle daily with Christians enamored of the Old Testament phrase "Spare the rod and spoil the child." No matter how far I stretch my imagination, it does not stretch far enough to include the image of a cool dude like Jesus taking a rod to a kid.” 15 likes
“It's easy to look back and say if things had been perfect, I could have accommodated all of those things into my life. But as a therapist I do not allow that word to be uttered in my office after the first session, because I believe the only reason for the existence of that word is to make us feel bad. It's the only word in the language (that I know of) that is defined in common usage by what can't be. It sets a vague standard that can't be met because it is never truly characterized. I prefer to think that we're all out here doing our best under the circumstances, looking at our world through the only eyes through which we can look at it: our own.” 14 likes
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