Monica!'s Reviews > A Week in the Woods

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements
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Now, as some of you may know, I love Andrew Clements’ Frindle with all the pieces of my heart. It is magical. It is marvelous. I keep a copy on my "Love You Long Time" shelf at home, next to Redwall and These Old Shades and Daddy Long-Legs. That’s how fantastic it is.

A Week in the Woods... is not so fantastic.

It is, dare I say it, mediocre.

Mark is a smart loner child who moves to a new town and knows all the class material and doesn’t want to bother making friends since his uber-rich family will be carting him off to boarding school in five weeks.

Mr. Maxwell is kind of an asshole science teacher, who when he thinks Mark isn’t wowed enough by the “Look What Happened To The Hindenburg” demonstration, decides the most mature thing to do is to HATE MARK FOREVER and ignore him in class and demean him in private and basically act like a fifteen year old girl.

During a week-long field trip in the woods, Mr. Maxwell tries to get Mark sent home, Mark wanders off by himself, Mr. Maxwell follows him and sprains an ankle off-screen, they meet up with one another, they eat Snickers bars, they repent of their misbehaviors, they hobble back to camp, and life basically goes on.

Now, to be fair, all of this is totally realistic. This is probably exactly how the story would play out if it were to happen in real life. A+ for facts and stuff, Mr. Clements.

But it’s boring.

Oh my God it’s tedious.

Why the hell do you throw your main characters into the woods if the most that will happen is they’ll eat some candy and ruefully talk about an ankle sprain that the reader didn’t even get to witness?

It’s a waste of a scene!

There are no bear attacks, no knife fights, no accidental ingestion of poisonous berries, no dark cold nights where the threat of freezing takes second place to the threat of dehydration and death due to shock, nothing!! This is a book for boys – let’s add in something that they’d actually care to read about!

The references to Hatchet are the most exciting part, which mostly served to make me want to put down Week in the Woods and go back to Gary Paulsen, who has the decency to follow through for his readers and provide all the Trapped In The Wilderness action scenes one could want.

Thanks Gary Paulsen!
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message 1: by Miriam (last edited Apr 16, 2012 09:20AM) (new)

Miriam decides the most mature thing to do is to HATE MARK FOREVER and ignore him in class and demean him in private and basically act like a fifteen year old girl.

Weirdly, this is how most teachers I've had interacted with students. Makes you wonder how people choose the profession...

For some reason this review makes me think you might like The Goats.


Monica! Thank goodness I only had *one* teacher who was like that, and he didn't hate me because of my attitude but rather because I was a girl and had breasts and clearly should be birthing babies and despite this had the nerve to be in his advanced bio course.

So, like, that's totally legit on his part.

I am putting The Goats on hold as we speak, because as you may or may not know you are my personal Book Recommendation Genie and as far as I am concerned, you can do no wrong.


message 3: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Ahhh! Pressure!


message 4: by karen (new)

karen thank you for steering me away from this. it looks like it would be my kind of paulsen-loving thing, but it is clearly not.


Monica! @Miriam -- Fact. You should be really, really intimidated by my level of trust in your taste.

@karen -- It's a failure for sure. I mean, upside, it took twenty minutes to read... so it's not a huge loss......


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