Carmine's Reviews > Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered

Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
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's review
Apr 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: family, historical-fiction, juvenile-fiction, realistic-fiction
Recommended to Carmine by: a library patron
Recommended for: 5-8th graders
Read in April, 2010

Laugh 'til you cry misadventures of an 11 year old boy sent for the summer to live with distant relatives, the Larsens. Set on a remote farm just after WWII here the protagonist meets his younger cousin Harris, a magnet for trouble. This salty tale includes such scenes as dares to pee on the electric fence, nasty roosters and an even nastier strange breed of 'cat.' The laws of physics and velocity are tested with all the force and testosterone as two boys on the cusp of puberty can muster.

Paulsen pulls no punches. The protagonist is sent to live on the farm because his parents are "puke drunks," as Harris would say and exist in one of three states- "buzzed (happy), drunk (mean as snakes), and finally, obliterated (Four Roses coma)." But the counterpoint to these off stage parents are the stoic, hardworking, big-hearted Larsens.

For as much trouble as the boys get into, this story is about belonging and finding your 'home' in the world.

A fabulous tear of a read that would please fans of Peck's 'Long Way from Chicago,' and 'Year Down Yonder.'

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