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

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  968 ratings  ·  192 reviews
Do you know:

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
42nd out of 69 books — 140 voters
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11th out of 12 books — 18 voters

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Community Reviews

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♥ 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, cru...more
Lars Guthrie
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...more
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
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
Jen Baker
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...more
Kelsey Moak
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
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...more
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.
Cody Wood
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.
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...more
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...more
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Masterson
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,...more
Debora Ryan
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 4 of 5 stars
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...more
“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...more
Claire Caterer
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
Margaret Sophia
I've never read any of Chris Crutcher's fiction books, but after reading his autobiography, I definitely want to! He writes with an honest, funny tone and seems to have a lot of wisdom. In comparing him to David Sedaris, another humorous author who writes many short stories about his childhood, I'd have to say I like Chris Crutcher better! David Sedaris is great, but also very snarky and cynical. Chris Crutcher seems like an all around more friendly guy. His stories are HILARIOUS. The one about...more
Caleb Despain

This autobiography was well...odd. Chris Crutcher is an interesting person. His life is a comical, if not at times a disturbing one. It made me uncomfortable at times with the descriptions and langauge. This is a novel many teens will relate to. It is one that can help teens realize they aren't the only ones with difficulties in life. There are some moments I definitely related. He is quite a rough character and an author I probably will not actually end up reading in the future. However the mes...more
As a teacher of young adolescents, I admire Crutcher's ability to deal with difficult issues in a way that doesn't demean the adolescent reader. He creates real characters - characters who sound like, look like, and act like people the audience of his novels encounter daily. And for this, Crutcher finds himself on lists of banned books and frequently banned authors. Crutcher's memoir provides a lot of insight about the real-life stories behind his novel as well as about the author himself. I had...more
Jul 13, 2008 Relyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who has read <i>Whale Talk</i>
I thought King of the Mild Frontier was really a 4 1/2 star book. I am trying to save my five star ratings for those books I consider the best of the best. This one was pretty darn close. I listened to the audiotape version read by Chris Crutcher. It was funny, funny, funny! If you have read any of my other reviews, you already know how many points laughing out loud earns with me. I laughed out loud many times. It was funny and entertaining whether or not you have read any other books by Chris C...more
Jul 17, 2012 Jenny added it
Shelves: book-club-books
This book is much more than it seems to be: yes, the descriptions and stories sometimes make you laugh out loud with their wit, or just their unmitigated gall. But the same author who can describe peeing down a furnace vent can bring us cutting moments of reflection as well. There's also a lot of serious and sad truth here. Some of my favorite moments were the discussions of faith, God, and spirituality - especially when our young author is talking to the priest about Scripture. For me, I enjoy...more
Sep 08, 2007 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All human beings
Shelves: young-adult
After reading the book, I felt like I, too, had grown up in Cascade, Idaho. Crutcher uses humor—often the self-deprecating variety—masterfully in this autobiography, to soften the blow of some of the heart-breaking experiences of growing up. The humor invites us to closely examine some of the events that shaped him, but also invites us to laugh along with him, to simply be entertained. When he talks about his brother’s success at convincing him that Jesus had an older brother named Esus, I nearl...more
this is perfect by-your-bedside table reading. each chapter is its own hilarious story that can be read by itself. also, this book may have the best back flap copy, i've ever read. check it out:

Do you know:
-A good reason to be phobic about oysters and olives?
-How shuttig your mouth can help you avoid brain surgery?
-How to survive in the winter wilderness with only a fishing pole and a sausage?

Chris Crutcher knows the answers to these questions and more. Once you have read about his life as...more
Crutcher narrates his autobiography very well. He tells stories from his life that include tales from his childhood and experiences from working with troubled children and families as a therapist. It is with these stories that Crutcher teaches the reader, just as he was taught growing up. The reader also gets a glimpse into Crutcher's childhood, which wasn't as perfect as it seems. The reader begins to truly understand all the different family members and they become actual people instead of jus...more
These poignant recollections from Crutcher's youth in 1950's, small-town Idaho are sometimes hilarious and always bittersweet. This is an enjoyable book, and Crutcher is adept at bringing his stories around full circle for a satisfying read.
Oh, I loved this book! This book reminds me a little of Jon Scieszka's memoir, Knucklehead. Like Jon, Chris grew up in a house of boys and learned hard lessons from older brothers. I laughed out loud - I mean BELLY LAUGHED - throughout the book. He is so dorky and funny while he's trying to be cool and fit it. Who hasn't felt like that at least once in their lives?

The book also has some important lessons - for all of us. Chris was a kids with a real temper. He talks about how he dealt with it,...more
I've only ever read Deadline before, but I really enjoyed it. So when I read his autobiography I expected to like it to. Well I did, it is one of my favorite books that I've read in a while an probably one of my top three English Festival books. It's funny and humble at the same time as serious and kind if inspiring. The only issue I had was getting used to how he went back and forth in his childhood a lot, though I understand why. It's not exactly supposed to in chronological order and it world...more
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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
More about Chris Crutcher...
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Deadline Whale Talk Ironman Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories

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“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.” 12 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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