22 October 2010
Book Review: The Winter Room
Author: Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Release Date: 1 April 1991
Date Finished: 18 October 2010
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Challenges: 100+ Reading, Hogwarts Reading Challenge, Young Adult Reading,
The Short and Sweet of It
Eldon lives with his brother Wayne, Uncle David, mom, dad, Nels, and the farm. Each season brings its own personality, its own responsibilities, and its own hardships and pleasures.
A Bit of a Ramble
It is difficult to summarize the plot of this book as it is more like a series of paintings, a set designed for two purposes: to reveal the seasons and to highlight the importance of stories. The book is sectioned out: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, which has its own sections as it is the time of stories from Uncle David, so each tale gets its own chapter heading. Life on the farm is described seasonally with the melty newness of Spring, the sweat and labor of Summer, the necessary but painful killing in Fall, and the stories in Winter.
The words that come to mind when thinking about this book are intense, mythological, and wonderfully male. In a mere 103 pages, Paulsen dramatically paints a portrait of life on a farm in the 1930s that is at once meandering and intense, with vivid descriptions of places and events. The story itself is mythological in nature with an emphasis on nature, a focus on storytelling, and mildly magical connotations. Finally, the male portion...oh, boy, how do I say this without stereotyping too dramatically.... The story is told simplistically but includes complex themes; the definition of simplistic I am going for here is writing and tone which are sparse, matter-of-fact, and to-the-point. The story revolves around horses, planting, logging, carving, wrestling, and other generally male interests and activities. It felt male in the same way smelling chopped wood does. In no way am I implying that women can't appreciate the book (obviously) - or appreciate horses, planting, logging.....
Gary Paulsen is a favorite author of mine; his ability to evoke emotion through snapshot-like descriptions of places and people is admirable and leaves me with a specific impression after reading his work. I highly recommend him for all ages.
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Question: Has anyone else ever read Paulsen?