Book Review: Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen #BookReview #GoneToTheWoods #Memoir #MiddleGrade

Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

Blurb:

A middle grade memoir, giving readers a new perspective on the origins of Gary Paulsen’s famed survival stories.

His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival stories. Now, author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.

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Book Review: What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt by Tessa Miller #BookReview #ChronicDisease #Autoimmune #ChohnsDisease


What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt

by Tessa Miller

Blurb:

The riveting account of a young journalist’s awakening to chronic illness, weaving together personal story and reporting to shed light on living with an ailment forever.

Tessa Miller was an ambitious twentysomething writer in New York City when, on a random fall day, her stomach began to seize up. At first, she toughed it out through searing pain, taking sick days from work, unable to leave the bathroom or her bed. But when it became undeniable that something was seriously wrong, Miller gave in to family pressure and went to the hospital—beginning a yearslong nightmare of procedures, misdiagnoses, and life-threatening infections. Once she was finally correctly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Miller faced another battle: accepting that she will never get better.

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Book Review: Free Lunch by Rex Ogle #FreeLunch #BookReview #MiddleGrade #Memoir

Free Lunch

By Rex Ogle

Blurb:

Instead of giving him lunch money, Rex’s mom has signed him up for free meals. As a poor kid in a wealthy school district, better-off kids crowd impatiently behind him as he tries to explain to the cashier that he’s on the free meal program. The lunch lady is hard of hearing, so Rex has to shout.

Free Lunch is the story of Rex’s efforts to navigate his first semester of sixth grade—who to sit with, not being able to join the football team, Halloween in a handmade costume, classmates and a teacher who take one look at him and decide he’s trouble—all while wearing secondhand clothes and being hungry. His mom and her boyfriend are out of work, and life at home is punctuated by outbursts of violence. Halfway through the semester, his family is evicted and ends up in government-subsidized housing in view of the school. Rex lingers at the end of last period every day until the buses have left, so no one will see where he lives.

Unsparing and realistic, Free Lunch is a story of hardship threaded with hope and moments of grace. Rex’s voice is compelling and authentic, and Free Lunch is a true, timely, and essential work that illuminates the lived experience of poverty in America

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Book Review: World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil #BookReview #Nature #Memoir #WorldOfWonders

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Review:

I discovered this book while doing some book shopping on Barnes and Noble’s website. It was advertised as the book of the year. Because I’m a nature lover, it was one I had to try. I was pleasantly enlightened from the first pages.

The essays in this book connect nature to parts of the author’s life from childhood to adulthood and now as a married woman and mother. The writings include facts about plants and animals along with short anecdotes regarding some part of her past. The stories were interesting, and many were eye-opening for me. This book emphasizes–in a fresh, unique way–that there’s so much we can learn from the natural wonders around us if we’d only open our eyes. Some of the connections the author made seemed a tad bit far-fetched, but it was something easily overlooked, and I found most to be beautifully woven.

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