The Island

The Island

3.6 17
by Gary Paulsen, Jeff Woodman
     
 

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Every morning fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton gets up, brushes his teeth, leaves the house, and rows away from shore. He's discovered the island—a place where he can go to be alone and learn to know nature—and himself. On the island he watches the loons and the fish in the lake, and writes and paints. It feels good to get away from the tension rising between… See more details below

Overview

Every morning fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton gets up, brushes his teeth, leaves the house, and rows away from shore. He's discovered the island—a place where he can go to be alone and learn to know nature—and himself. On the island he watches the loons and the fish in the lake, and writes and paints. It feels good to get away from the tension rising between his parents, tension brought on by yet another move to a new town.

But Wil can't stay away from the outside world forever. He must face Ray Bunner, the bully determined to challenge him, and his parents, who worry when Wil decides to stay on the island indefinitely. Can Wil bridge the growing gap between himself and the rest of the world?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The island is in the middle of a small lake in northern Wisconsin. It is uninhabited until the summer Wilstet, who is 15, arrives. Wil is at first drawn by the simplicity of the place, but as his concentration sharpens the island unfolds its matrix of life and death, mirroring the unfolding layers of Wil's self-consciousness. He fills notebooks with watercolors and writes essays about what he sees, feels, remembers and observes within. He decides to stay, Thoreau-like, supported by his new friend Susan, even though the worldanxious parents, town bullies, and a curious pressoccasionally intrudes. His serenity finally becomes fascinating. This could have been another back-to-nature story, but Newbery Honor writer Paulsen tells Wil's inner journey with a confident lyricism that duplicates Wil's emotional qualities. The somewhat forced plot elements are secondary to the author's purposehis spareness, repetition and use of rhythm gives his language intensity while holding out to readers the promise of all-too-elusive clarity. Ages 11-14. (April)
School Library Journal
Gr 9-12 Fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton is forced to leave Madison for the upper reaches of Wisconsin when his ne'er-do-well father takes a position with the state highway department. Wil leaves behind the security of old friends and old crushes. In the course of adjusting to his new environment, he discovers an uninhabited island sitting in the middle of Sucker Lake. It is on this island that Wil chooses to emulate ``The Thinker'' by Rodin and learn more about himself. In this strangely different coming-of-age novel, Paulsen is not clear enough in leading readers down the path of humor. And a joke is not a successful joke if it is on the reader rather than a shared adventure. Therefore, what might have been a funny take-off on adolescent angst does not quite work. There are hints along the wayfor example, the lake's name and Emil Aucht, the tobacco-spitting handy man. But the plausible does not become implausible enough until late in the novel. By then readers have something in common with the name of the lake ``on which the island lay.'' Therese Bigelow, Hampton Public Library, Va.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780788701306
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
09/28/1994
Edition description:
Unabridged
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Gary Paulsen has written more than 175 books and some 200 articles and short stories for children and adults. He is considered one of the most important writers for young adults today. Three of his novels — HATCHET, DOGSONG, and THE WINTER ROOM — were Newbery Honor books, and his works frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association.
Mr. Paulsen and his wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, an artist who has illustrated several of his books, divide their time between their home in New Mexico, a boat in the Pacific, and adventures in the wilderness.

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