Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Angel Peterson Got His Name” as Want to Read:
How Angel Peterson Got His Name
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How Angel Peterson Got His Name

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,097 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
WHEN YOU GROW up in a small town in the north woods, you have to make your own excitement. High spirits, idiocy, and showing off for the girls inspire Gary Paulsen and his friends to attempt:

• Shooting waterfalls in a barrel

• The first skateboarding

• Breaking the world record for speed on skis by being towed behind a souped-up car, and then . . . hitting gravel

• Jumping th
ebook, 128 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Yearling (first published January 14th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Angel Peterson Got His Name, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How Angel Peterson Got His Name

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Emma W.
Dec 11, 2012 Emma W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This week I started and finished the book How Angle Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulson. This book is about the childhood of Gary and his friends that end up doing some crazy things like fighting a bear, a real bear, for a minute just to impress a girl they all like bungee jumping through a wasps nest and so many other crazy things. I have never done anything like this in my life, as you could probably imagine. Although I would bet that my dad and uncle would have done things like this when th ...more
Apr 05, 2017 Jayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was easy. so easy that it took me 2 hours. i Thought that this book was hilarious. I recommend it for people who want a very easy read or to laugh.
Sean K.
Nov 15, 2012 Sean K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do you think Angel Peterson? Well you can find out in the book. Angel's actual name was Carl but at the age of 13 he was never called by Carl Peterson again well because he did some pretty crazy stuff like Schoening off a waterfall and Barrel, Breaking the world speed record on skis, Hang gliding with army surplus target Kite, Inventing the skateboard, wrestling With a bear And other outrageous tale about extreme sports.Gary the Author made this book really cool because it actually related t ...more
Elizabeth L.
Dec 13, 2012 Elizabeth L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


I am currently reading the book How Angel Peterson Got His Name By: Gary Paulsen. The book is about a 13 year old boy named Carl and he did a lot of crazy things. One of the crazy things he did was to try to break the speed record on skis; he had to go seventy-four miles an hour to break the record. But there was one problem there were no hills near by so he couldn't get any speed, but Carl said "I don't need any hills all I need is a car." They went to go buy all of the gear so he would
Luke F
Oct 29, 2012 Luke F rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently read the book How Angel Peterson Got His Name by: Gary Paulsen. I loved this book because it's so hilarious. It was hilarious because in one part of the book one of Gary Paulsen's friends rides a parachute into a pig pen and gets caked with mud. Throughout most of the book Gary Paulsen and his friends are doing daring things like riding a parachute through the air and doing stunts on their bikes with ramps. I think Gary Paulsen did a great job writing this book because he described th ...more
Angel Peterson, Gary Paulsen, and their friends tried a number of daredevil stunts in their thirteenth year, and they are chronicled in hilarious detail in this book. Have you ever wondered what could happen if you tried to ski while tied to the bumper of a car? What about shooting a waterfall in a barrel, or wrestling a bear? Gary Paulsen's stories of his youth describe a time when the Army/Navy store had target kites that could be used for hang gliding and circuses had tents where you could pa ...more
Nov 27, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone except young boys
Recommended to Jennifer by: Becky Taylor
A mother of three boys recommended this book to me. Such a funny book about boys and their seriously shocking ability to make it to adulthood. My husband (who had his share of dangerous adventures growing up) read it and loved it too. Laugh out loud funny. This book will stay safely shelved until my son is thirty - I don't want him getting any ideas. The girls can read it all they want.
Stacy Mcelgunn
Oct 21, 2013 Stacy Mcelgunn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! Gary Paulsen uses the most vivid language. I get a great picture in my head from his stories!
Frankly one of the best knee-slappers I've read with an adult's perspective on what it is to remember being a kid who's had to say, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." I gave it to my 85 year old dad to read, and he got as big a kick out of it (and a trek down memory lane) as I did.
Nancy Hansen
Dec 22, 2016 Nancy Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was so hilarious--laugh out loud funny.
A funny, laugh out loud book about the antics of a group of young men as they seek thrills and adventures of post-WWII American life.
Jan 05, 2009 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-memoir
Definitely, the adult in me was laughing at Angel Peterson. I was chuckling out loud while reading this book. My favorite story was when the boys went to the tent revival meeting and threw crab apples on the roof to mimic the “footsteps of God” just as the preacher was saying those words. When Orvis is caught, he inexplicably gives Archie’s name and that makes for even more trouble. As is his custom, Orvis devises his own punishment, which is much worse than what Archie had in store for him! Orv ...more
Jul 19, 2009 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently read an article where the author talked of the best biographies and autobiographies of all time. Number one on his list was "How Angel Peterson Got His Name" by Gary Paulsen. I had seen this book on the shelf in our library many times but had never picked it up. I am so glad that I did! This short masterpiece has been one of my favorite reads of the summer! It is a treasure to be sure.

I read it in one sitting (actually one standing on the treadmill at the gym) and immediately ordered
Joel Richardson
Sep 09, 2010 Joel Richardson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen Non-fiction, boy
activities, dare-
devil stunts,
rural America

This non-fiction book is simply one of the funniest narratives I have read on 8 to 17 year old boys doing hilarious, dare-devil activities like breaking the speed record on skis, bungy-jumping from a hay loft, hang gliding with an old WWII parachute, and fighting a bear at the fair. The book is chalk-full of "boys being boys" as they try to out-do the other, usually finding as a conseq
Nov 27, 2012 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only do I feel as if this book describes in great detail the life of Gary Paulsen and his friends, but also many other guys out there! They are reckless, curious, and into every form of trouble possible! In this story you will see and learn about several different real life adventures that this crazy group of boys went on throughout their wild childhood in Minnesota. Carl Peterson aka "Angel" and Gary Paulsen found themselves constantly getting into mischief and disaster! Peeing on fences, r ...more
Gretchen S.
Gary Paulsen
Nonfiction Autobiography
128 pages

Gary Paulsen and his friends go out to watch a news strip. In the news strip, it says that a man had just broken the world record for the fastest person to go on skis. Carl, Gary’s best friend, was speechless after the strip. He said I can do it! They all looked at him. He said I can break the world record on skis. So they end up doing it and after things looked pretty bad for Carl. After this story other friends did oth
Becca Hay
I gladly call this book a biography of Gary Paulsen as well as for every male alive. Gary Paulsen, while writing of his life experiences particularly, captures the essence of every boy: an abundance of ideas and lack of prefrontal brain development. The biography begins with the title's story and describes how one movie preview + Carl Peterson's idea= Carl "Angel" Peterson. The book goes on from there to describe all the crazy things boys do from riding bikes through flaming hoops to wrestling a ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kambria Pratt
Dec 07, 2016 Kambria Pratt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420

I only chose this book because my younger brother is obsessed with it; and I can see why. It is such a typical boy book filled with ludicrous adventures that promote nothing but tomfoolery and mischievous teenage fun. However, the book is written in a very creative and well structured way that make it a hilarious and easy read. Though it is not like most non-fiction books I have read, Gary illustrates true adventures that occurred, which m
From peeing on electric fences to setting records for speed and distance, these boys are lucky they made it into adulthood without any other serious mishaps. Angel Peterson wanted to set the new speed record for skiing, so he and his buddies outfit him at the local Army Surplus Store and then, since there are no hills in their small Minnesotan town, they decide to get the local cool teenage guy to get their skier up to speed by pulling him along behind the car. They get up to 80 miles an hour be ...more
Aspects of the work that appeal, or do not appeal to teens:
This is simply hilarious. I found this book picturing X-games style extreme sports, and instead found short stories about all of the incredibly stupid things that pre-teen boys can do. I laughed out loud and read pieces to my friends, and I think that teens would do the same. The stories were so incredibly ridiculous that they pretty much have to be believed. This book doesn’t really include any of the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolesc
Jul 21, 2013 Relyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the young at heart among us
Recommended to Relyn by: a classroom volunteer years and years ago
I hadn't read this book since I taught fourth grade, which means at least six years ago. I remembered it as being hilarious. I wasn't disappointed.

I love Paulsen's memoirs because they are always hilarious and believable even while making your eyes widen with incredulity and your breath catch a little, caught between worry and laughter. I think I love this book even more because it reminds me of my husband and his brother. No, they didn't have these same adventures, but they would have been up f
Jun 11, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
This is a non-fiction autobiographical account of Gary Paulsen when he was 13 years old. The book contains five short stories that Paulsen wrote about his 13th year where he tried extreme things with his friends in Minnesota. They are all hilarious and show keen insight into young boys. One of them, the funniest story, is what the title of the book is named after. It recounts Paulsen and his friends' attempt to ski behind an 80 mile per hour car. This book will relate to almost any make YA reade ...more
Feb 15, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hysterical book about the antics of a group of 13 year old boys in post-WW II Minnesota. It tells of their antics to amuse themselves in the flat, cold wilderness that they lived in and compares them to extreme sports of today. This is a sports book that would appeal to teens that are not necessarily into sports because it is as much about the adventure and ridiculous danger of the antics as it is about extreme sports. It is also a humorous, quick read. The characters are believable be ...more
This book is a collection of stories from Gary Paulsen’s teenage years. They are a collection of daredevil stunts that he and his friends did. Before extreme sports, quality protective gear, and television Paulsen and his friends have a lot of fun. They do wild things like try to beat a record for how fast you can ski0- 74mp- being pulled by a truck. Another is flying a giant parachute like a kite, and ending up hang gliding. Paulsen’s story of his own first date is hilarious-
Nov 16, 2012 Zack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen is about how the main character Carl Peterson got his nickname Angel Peterson. The book is intended for teens and preteens.

Carl and his friends got to the theater to watch a movie about giant ants. After the movie the group are all talking about how they would handle the ants. In the middle of all this Carl brings up that he could break the world record for the fastest speed on a pair of skis. At first his friends are questioning his stat
Treyton DeVore
Apr 27, 2012 Treyton DeVore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I really liked this book and I would consider this book a partial autobiography of Gary Paulsen. Angel Peterson wanted to break the record for speed on skis. He got an older friend that had a car to pull him behind it while he held a rope and was riding on the skis. His friends went to an army surplus store and got Angel old pilot gear to prep him for his feat. When he was ready to go, they slowly increased the speed of the car and he kept his thumb up, which meant faster, until they got to 80
Emily M.
Oct 03, 2012 Emily M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How Angle Peterson Got His Name
111 pages

This dare devil book is an adventurous story told by Gary Paulsen himself. It is all about Paulsen’s childhood experiences. The story is named this because the main part is when Paulsen’s childhood friend, Carl, Decides he wants to “break the speed record on skis.” Carl thinks, “It cant miss- what can go wrong?” But boy, could he of been farther from the truth. First, waxing his skis wasn’t the brightest idea or even trying the stunt in the first
Jenna Sommerkamp
How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen is a collection of stories from Gary's teenage years. The stories are humorous and daring events that he and his friends faced as young 13 year old teens. They do wild and crazy things for fun such as trying to break the world record on skis, fighting a bear at a fair, or even going on a first date.

This book would be excellent for upper fifth grade readers especially for boys. The humor and daringness throughout the story will have boys wanting to
Sep 01, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bbya, humorous, nonfiction
Dedicated to all 13-year-old boys (“The miracle is that we live through it”), Paulsen’s latest collection of possibly autobiographical anecdotes, his most hilarious yet, celebrates that innate impulse to try really stupid stunts, just to see what happens. What sort of bad ideas can a group of young teens in a small Minnesota town come up with? “Angel” Peterson ties himself, on skis, to a fast car, earning his nickname after claiming to hear angels singing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” when the attempt g ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tripping Over the Lunch Lady: And Other School Stories
  • The Tarantula in My Purse: and 172 Other Wild Pets
  • Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka
  • Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid
  • King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
  • With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote
  • Tree Shaker: The Story of Nelson Mandela
  • Jack on the Tracks: Four Seasons of Fifth Grade (Jack Henry, #4)
  • In the Land of the Lawn Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales (Weenies series, #1)
  • God Went to Beauty School
  • If You're Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand: Poems About School
  • Samurai Shortstop
  • The Word Eater
  • The 6th Grade Nickname Game
  • Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam
  • Happy Kid!
  • Mudville
  • Defiance
Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve
More about Gary Paulsen...

Share This Book