Even though the subtitle of Gary Paulsen’s This Side of Wild is Mutts, Mares and Laughing Dinosaurs I didn’t realize it was going to be the kind of book it was. I knew it was nonfiction, but assumed it would be more like expository than memoir, which is what it is.
He got me with the first story about Corky, a three-toothed poodle no one wanted, who could frighten off bears. It made me think for a moment, and only a moment, that maybe my next dog should be a poodle. The other stories in the book tell of remarkable animals Paulsen has encountered. Although marketed for middle grades, it is listed s 10 & up. By up, I think they mean way up: I think many adults would enjoy reading this.
Publisher’s Summary: Longlisted for the National Book Award
The Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsongshares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.
Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.
His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.