Book Review: Dogsong by Gary Paulsen


My personal rating: 5 out of 5

My three sentence synopsis: Russel is painfully unhappy with himself and his life with his father, but he can’t figure out why. His father sends him to the last Eskimo in the village who lives in the traditional way without any modern tools or technology, and Oogruk teaches Russel everything he can remember from before the white men came. Consequently, Russel takes Oogruk’s challenge to leave the village with the sled and the dog team, live off the land, and become what the dogs could help him to be–a man with a dog song.

The first morsel of prose: Russel Susskit rolled out of the bunk and put his feet on the floor and listened in the darkness to the sounds of morning. They were the same sounds he had always heard, sounds he used to listen for. Now in the small government house–sixteen by twenty–they grated like the ends of a bone.

The reason I chose this book: My friend had given me Gary Paulsen’s book My Life in Dog Years and I was delighted with it, so she loaned me Dogsong, as it is another one of her favorites by Paulsen.

My experience with this book: The voice of this book immediately impressed me. From the first page, it conveyed to me (a White Anglo-Saxon Person) that Russel is not like me and the place he lives in is so different from anything I have experienced it might as well be Middle Earth or some other fantasy realm. At the same time, I completely sympathized with his predicament; I, too, have struggled to find a way of living that is truly satisfying or meaningful. I found Russel’s journey compelling and profound. I was totally enthralled by this book!

What this book is about: Accepting challenges, facing fears, persevering, and learning to be the person that you are.


About ChainThree

I am a daughter, sister, wife and aunt who has always loved a good yarn.
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