Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paintings From the Cave by Gary Paulsen

Although I have read many books by him over the year, Gary Paulsen reveals something in the foreward to this book that I didn't know - he was one of the kids who slipped through the cracks and had a rough childhood. He felt a desire to write this book so that other kids who are living hard lives have something to which they can relate. The three stories in this book all present kids who are getting by. Jake is living on his own in the inner city trying to stay away from Blade, the drug dealer who runs his block. In the second story, Jo lives with two adults she only refers to as "Her" and "Him". Jo stays away from her drunk, abusive parents as much as possible. When she adopts three dogs Jo begins to feel that she has a family for the first time in her life. The final story centers on Jamie who is homeless and living with his older brother Erick after they left their horrible home. These are moving stories that are grim, but not unbearably so. Two contain some hope for the characters involved. I think this will be a popular title for many students, but especially for those whom Paulsen intended.

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