Cali Jex's Reviews > Dogsong

Dogsong by Gary Paulsen
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's review
Oct 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: nature-manhood-eskimo-culture

In a classic Gary Paulsen novel, Russel Susskit, a fourteen-year-old Eskimo boy, is trying to find out who he really is. He turns to Oogruk, the oldest man in the village, to teach him the ways and songs of the past. After Oogruk dies, Russel leaves the village to go and live like the old Eskimos, living solely off the land and the animals. With no one but Mother Nature and a pack of dogs, he fights to survive but is often taught some of the ways of the Eskimo in his dreams. When food is scarce, he happens upon a young woman who is pregnant and about to have a baby. He assumes the responsibility of a man and leaves her to hunt for food, knowing that if he doesn’t find some soon, both of them will die. This was a surprisingly pleasant read. Though I do feel it is more appropriate for young adult MALE readers (some of the passages where he describes killing and gutting an animal were too grotesque for my female stomach), I did enjoy the fact that the conflict was centered on the battle of boy v. beast or boy v. nature rather than boy v. the immoral peer pressures of high school. It was a nice relief from most YA stories.

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