Alex Larsen's Reviews > Dogsong
Russell lives in a village that is both modern and ancient. In this village, something is bothering him that he can't quite explain, and his father suggests that he visit the old village shaman Oogruk, who is steeped in the "old ways". Russell ends up spending and enjoying a lot of time with Oogruk learning about the old ways, until it comes time for him to take Oogruk's team of sled dogs out into the wilderness on a journey of his own. I have to admit that I did not expect to like this book (it seemed very boyish) but I ended up loving it. It is easy to identify with Russell's sense of longing he feels in the beginning of the novel, and as the reader accompanies him on his journey they are captured by the amazing sense of self he able to find as he travels out all alone. Gary Paulsen uses very simple language and sentence structure throughout the novel, yet ends up constructing a beautiful and poignant story. It seems to be a rare talent to write both simply and wonderfully, and Paulsen certainly pulls it off. Though I went into this story thinking it would be very boyish, I think that both girls and boys could relate to Russell's character and enjoy his story.
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