Andy's Reviews > Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

Alive by Piers Paul Read
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Jun 01, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: own, reviewed

One of my two favorite books. (The other is To Kill a Mockingbird.) I read this three summers in a row as a teenager, and probably another three times as an adult. And if I live long enough I will read it as many times again. It's simply the greatest survival story ever. I would read this book on camping trips in 90+ degree temperatures, and it would never fail to whisk me away to the Andes.

Here are my only two complaints.... First, I always skip the first chapter, which concerns the history of Uruguay, a description of rugby, and a history of Uruguayan rugby. These details are unnecessary and just delay the real story. Also, I could do with fewer accounts of the families' attempts to locate the survivors with the help of a psychic. These passages do at least let us spend some time with the families and let us know what they're going through, but of course the psychic accomplishes absolutely nothing and doesn't have a clue where the survivors are. Every time we visit the families and the psychic we are being taken away from the real story.

But these flaws are minor and do nothing to lessen the amazingness of the story.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Bambi It has been a very long time since I read this book. I have a son going into 7th grade and was trying to decide if this is appropriate reading for his age. You mentioned reading it as a teenager so my comment is a question...do you find it appropriate for a 7th grader b/c I can't remember? I know that I loved the book. I just can't remember how old I was when I read it.


Andy Bambi wrote: "It has been a very long time since I read this book. I have a son going into 7th grade and was trying to decide if this is appropriate reading for his age. You mentioned reading it as a teenager ..."

As you know, the story involves cannibalism. There's also much talk of religion among the survivors, and their families (as noted in my review) seek the aid of a psychic. I don't think there's much by way of bad language, but I could be wrong.

There are many different kinds of 7th graders. I think the book would be appropriate for some and not for others. Many would probably find it long and boring. I started reading it under the best possible circumstances -- one of my parents brought it with them on our camping trip, I picked it up, got curious, and started reading.

So I would say yes, it's appropriate, as long as none of the subject matter concerns you, and as long as your son is interested in the story.


Bambi Thanks for the info. I am quite open with my kids about things of the world so I don't think he would find any of those things shocking. I may let him try it and see how it goes!
Bambi


Andy Bambi, did you son ever read this book? If so, what did he think?


Bambi He has not. He is about to be a senior in high school now. I need to buy it for both my kids!


Andy Is your other child younger? If either reads it, I would be interested in hearing what they thought. I have managed to convince a couple people to read it in recent years, but neither has fallen in love with it the way I have.


Bambi My daughter is 15 and my son is almost 17. Ordering copy of book today. I'll let you know!


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