this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to gi am a book thief.
this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to get all their byron books with his notes in the margins)
but when i was twelve, i borrowed this book from someone. and i never gave it back. shocking, right?? even more shocking is that i do not regret it. "my" copy is fat, with sprouted, swollen pages soft to the touch, and has been read at least twenty times. the copies they sell nowadays have some sort of modern paper that make the book half the size of the one i have, and it looks anemic and sad. mine is a proud fat tabby, basking in the sun of my love.
yeah, that one got away from me, but i don't even care. i love this book, i loooove this book. i made alfonso and greg read this book, and both of them gave it five stars. why?? because it is great. it is a cat adventure story, how could it be anything but great?
i always describe is as a cross between the hobbit and watership down but with cats. n.b. - i have never read the hobbit, but i saw the cartoon with all the singing, so i feel qualified to make this comparison.
it is a quest novel like the hobbit; it involves adventures in the forest, in the towns of man, and underground (shudder). and it employs its own animal vernacular the way that watership down does. but it is about a cat, trying to find his missing friend. and there are giant killer cats with red claws. and intrigue!
i fell in love with this world for both the action sequences and the interludes of catworld mythology and history, which are very detailed and add a density to a story that, in my description anyway, seems like it is slight: cat looks for missing friend. that's like saying titanic is about a boat that sinks. but there is all sorts of wailing and lovemaking surrounding the boat sinking. and this is better than titanic by many leagues.
and it is not slight at all (despite what modern paper would have you believe) - it has interspecial relationships (not those kind of relationships, grosso) and stories within stories, and it is a cat coming-of-age story as well as an adventure story with battles.
seeing negative reviews on here kind of breaks my heart, so i thought i would drop my two cents up in the mix. most of my childhood memories involve me, eating plums, and reading this book.
i am reviewing this today because at some point, the plan is to review all the books on my "favorites" shelf, in order to try to understand my own tasi am reviewing this today because at some point, the plan is to review all the books on my "favorites" shelf, in order to try to understand my own taste. i was thinking about this book earlier this morning (and as it is only 8:30 now, you can see i spend a lot of early morning-time devoted to serious intellectual thought) because i was thinking about writing a review for harington's With, until i realized i already had, but that it wasn't a very good one,it was more of a placeholder review, and how i could re-write a more useful one that would actually get people to read more harington, but that i didn't know where that book was, and since i wanted to quote from it to give a sense of what he does in that book that is good, but then i started thinking about the elements of that book that are problematic and controversial; pedophile kidnaps young girl from the roller rink, takes her to secluded mountaintop retreat, dies, she ends up living an edenic life with a ghost lover and many animal friends, which just makes it sound ridiculous, and it is not. and then i remembered that one of my very first crushes was malcolm, the ghost in the soup. this very soup. and he was the ghost of an elderly gentleman. talk about understanding my own tastes...but i did, i had such a thing for him, even though as far as ghosts go, he is pretty inept. but i was eight, so i guess my standards were different then.eight-year-old boys probably seemed pretty inept as well. so i understand the ghost-lover business. is all that line of thinking was to explain, but this ghost is no lover. not within the confines of this book, at any rate. this book is about upward mobility, and the transplanting of a young boy into a new environment where he is forced to make new friends, some dead, some less dead, and come to terms with life's changes. good sound advice. hot old ghost. i think i am the only one to have taken that particular lesson from this book. but come on: "there are lady ghosts as well. and they're all my friends. they haunt big mansions and wrecked ships. lovely creatures. i've always been faithful to my martha, but they're still my friends. some of them i met almost one hundred years ago, when i first started ghosting."
you know he is a player. he just doesn't want the eight-year-old to know it. (and, yes, this book i can find, but with remains elusive. typical.
so - yeah - welcome to my "favorites" shelf. and my interior monologue. and my slow slippery nervous breakdown. welcome....more
this is one of my favorite books in all the land. i read it at least a million times when i was little, and it holds such a special place in my heart,this is one of my favorite books in all the land. i read it at least a million times when i was little, and it holds such a special place in my heart, i can't even begin to review it. having said all that, there are those who have a problem with the ending, because let's just say it's fairly devastating. so, as a band-aid to the heart of monica!, i have rewritten the ending to make it a little more jolly. with all apologies to wilson rawls, whose ending i thought was spectacular, allow me to present THE WAY Where the Red Fern Grows SHOULD HAVE ENDED. AND NOW DOES.
(view spoiler)[The fourth time they treed, they were on top of a mountain. After the long chase, I figured the animal was winded and would stay in the tree. In a trot I started to them.
As I neared the tree, Little Ann came to me, reared up, and whined. By her actions, I knew something was wrong. I stopped. In the moonlight, I could see Old Dan sitting on his haunches, staring up at the tree and bawling.
The tree had lots of dead leaves on it. I knew it was a large white oak because it is one of the last trees in the mountains to lose its leaves.
Old Dan kept bawling. Then he did something he had never done before. For seconds his deep voice was still, and silence settled over the mountains. My eyes wandered from the tree to him. His lips were curled back and he snarled as he stared into the dark foliage of the tree. His teeth gleamed white in the moonlight. The hair on his neck and along his back stood on end. A low, deep, rumbling growl rolled from his throat.
I was scared and I called to him. I wanted to get away from there. Again I called, but it was no use. He wouldn't leave the tree, for in his veins flowed the breeded blood of a hunting hound. In his fighting heart, there was no fear.
I set the lantern down and tightened my grip on the handle of the boombox. Slowly I started walking toward him. I thought, "If I can get close enough to him, I can grab his collar." I kept my eyes on the tree as I edged forward. Little Ann stayed by my side. She, too, was watching the tree.
Then I saw them - two burning, yellow eyes - staring at me from the shadowy foliage of the tree. I stopped, petrified with fear.
The deep baying of Old Dan stopped and again the silence closed in.
I stared back at the unblinking eyes.
I could make out the bulk of a large animal, crouched on a huge branch, close to the trunk of the big tree. Then it moved. I heard the scratch of razor-sharp hooves on the bark. It stood up and moved out of the shadows on to the limb. I saw it clearly as it passed between the moon and me. I knew what it was. It was the devil unicorn of the Ozarks.
The silence was shattered by one long, loud bawl from Old Dan. I'd never heard my dog bawl like that. It was different. His voice rang out over the mountains, loud and clear. The vibration of the deep tones rolled in the silence of the frosty night, on and on, out over the flats, down in the canyons, and died away in the rimrocks like the cry of a lost soul. Old Dan had voiced his challenge to the unicorn.
There was a low cough and a deep snort from the unicorn. I saw him crouch. I knew what was coming.
My hands felt hot and sweaty on the smooth handle of the boombox. With a blood-curdling whinny he sprang from the tree with limbs outspread and long, yellow horn bared.
Old Dan didn't wait. Rearing up on his hind legs, he met the unicorn in the air and busted out a smooth pop & lock. the groove rolled him over and over. He wound up in a fallen treetop.
The impact of his classic moves threw the unicorn off balance. Little Ann darted in. Her aim was true. I heard the snap of her paws as she deployed a full-out Harlem Shake.
With a squall of awe and rage, the unicorn spun around and began rocking his pelvis, performing some advanced booty-pops. His right hoof reached out and curved over his shoulder, in a "what you got??" taunt. Sinews tightened.
Little Ann executed a pas de beurre into a jazz square blowing his mind with this bizarre combo.
Old Dan, stunned for an instant from the impact of her footwork, fought his way from the treetop.
Bawling the cry of the damned, he charged back in.
I went berserk, and charged into the crew.
There in the flinty hills of the Ozarks, I fought for the honor of my dogs. I fought with the only weapon I had - the dance.
Screaming like a madman, with tears running down my face, I did the Running Man, the Cabbage Patch, the Humpty Hump at the big twerking unicorn.
Once, feeling the bite of my Roger Rabbit, the unicorn turned on me. His yellow slitted eyes burned with hate. The long, lithe body dipped low to the ground. The shoulder muscles knotted and bulged as it negotiated a textbook Worm. I tried to jump back, but my foot slipped and I dropped to my knees. I knew I was trapped. With a terrifying scream he sprang - in a death-spiral pirouette.
I never saw my dogs when they got between the unicorn and me, but they were there. Side by side, they rose up from the ground as one. They sailed straight into that horn of death, their small, red bodies taking the frantic krumping meant for me.
I screamed and charged back into the battle, swinging my arms, but I was careful not to disrupt the groove of my dogs.
The battle raged on and on, down the side of the mountain, over huckleberry bushes, fallen logs, and rocks. It was a rolling, tumbling mass of dancing fury. I was in the middle of it all, falling, screaming, crying and Crip Walking at every opportunity.
I had impressed the unicorn several times. Sweat ran through its mane, but as yet I had not busted that decisive move. I knew it had to be soon for my dogs were no match against the freestyle mastery of the unicorn.
The screams of the unicorn and the deep bellowing voices of my dogs echoed through the mountains as if the beat box of hell had been turned loose. Down the side of the mountain, the terrible competition went on, down to the very bottom of the canyon.
The unicorn had Old Dan by the balls. Figuratively. I knew he was looking to own him with the all-important move - the moonwalk. At the pitiful bawl of Old Dan, Little Ann, throwing caution to the wind, ran in and began an uprock sequence with burns that I had never seen from her before. With her claws digging into the mountain soil, she braced herself, and started pulling. The muscles in her small legs knotted and quivered. She was trying hard to pull off a routine that would end this once and for all.
In the rays of a bright Ozark moon, I could see clearly. For an instant I saw the broad back of the big unicorn. I saw the knotty bulge of steel-bound muscle, the piston-like jerk of the deadly hind legs, trying for the moonwalk that could disembowel a dog. Again, figuratively.
Raising the boombox high over my head, like John Cusack, I blasted a beat I knew would inspire Ann to funktastery. My aim was true. The beats cleaved through the tension. They seemed to hiss as they sliced their way through the dancers. Ann began to spin, faster and faster.
The unicorn broke eye contact with Old Dan. With a scream of pain, he reared up on his hind legs and started pawing at the air. But it was too late. Ann was in the zone. Her eyes were shut tight and her small feet were digging and clawing in the dirt. All of a sudden, she began to levitate, rising high in the air. Her long, red body sailed and twirled in between the hooves of the gasping unicorn.
The unicorn screamed again. Sweat gurgled and sprayed. In a rainbow-colored mist, it rained out over the underbrush and rattled like sleet on the white oak leaves.In a boxer's stance, he stood and clawed at the air. His slitted eyes turned green with hate. He seemed to be unaware that the battle was over, and kept staring at me. I stood in a trance and stared back at Little Ann's vertical ascent.
The expectation of triumph was slowly leaving him. He had been schooled but was refusing to go down. My boombox continued to churn out fat beats. A shudder ran through his body. He tried once again to moonwalk. But it was too late.
It was the end of the trail for the scourge of the dance. No more would he scream his challenge from the rimrocks to the valley below. The small, harmless calves and the young colts would be safe from his Boogaloo.
He fell toward me. It seemed that with his last effort he was still trying to step to me.
And then, abruptly, his hooves struck the ground. With a final snort, he tossed his mane in defeat, and slitted his eyes at the still-spinning, still-levitating Little Ann. Scowling at each of us in turn, he whinnied as if to say, "You win this one, but this is not over! For realz," and galloped off into the frosty darkness.
Ann's rotations began to slow as she corkscrewed down to the ground again. Panting, Old Dan ran to her and sniffed her all over, his tail wagging furiously. I lowered the boombox, pressed the "Stop" button, and the sounds of the forest returned in the ensuing calm.
"Well, that was close!" I declared as Little Ann and Old Dan wrapped up their olfactory celebration. They turned to me with great doggie grins, their tails red blurs behind them.
"Who wants kibbles?" I asked my beloved pets.
And then the three of us lived forever and ever and ever the end.
this may be the best book for kids ever written. it teaches young girls everything they will ever need to know in their resourceful lives: how to builthis may be the best book for kids ever written. it teaches young girls everything they will ever need to know in their resourceful lives: how to build a fence out of whale bones, how to kill giant squids, how to alternately befriend and defend against scary wild dogs, and how to make skirts from cormorant feathers. since i got kicked out of brownies and never got to learn All The Things That Girl Scouts Learn, this book taught me how to wilderness-survive. and now i live in queens. so - not much use for it, but still a book i have such a fondness for. and i have an old copy, too, where they used to make the page-ends colored. mine is green. i need to read this again. and find out why montambo doesnt like it......more
true story: when i was a kid, our school librarian read this to us in class. that night when i was drifting off to sleep, i found that the creature hatrue story: when i was a kid, our school librarian read this to us in class. that night when i was drifting off to sleep, i found that the creature had followed me home and was scratching on the wall right outside. which was totally unfair because i hadn't even taken his damn tailypo. i mean, do your research, jerk... i had to sleep in my parents' bed for like a week. and that's why i have no younger siblings. way to go, tailypo....more