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A Realistic Story about a Modern-Day Eskimo Boy
on 12 December 2004
This is a realistic story set in the far north, both in an Eskimo village, and in the wild tundra. The story is about an Eskimo boy who has a vague sense of discontent. His father recommends that he go visit with an old Eskimo man, who is steeped in the "old" ways. Russel, the boy, ends up living with the old Eskimo man, learning the old ways, and dropping out of school. No one seems to mind because he is still learning valuable things. Eventually, the old man goes out on the ice to die, but first tells Russel to head to the Far North for about one year, to "find himself." He is alone most of that time, but toward the end, meets up with an Eskimo girl, who he saves. The book implies that in the future, she will be his wife. This is a coming-of-age story dealing with a boy's feelings about becoming competent as a man, and having confidence in his own abilities.
This author is well-aquainted with both modern and traditional Eskimo life, and really shows the reader both how it is now, and how it used to be. I am a teacher, and I recommend this book for anyone interested in Eskimo life, realistic stories of boy-against nature, or hunting and fishing activities. The boy's thoughts and feelings would make the book mostly of interest to age 12, to adult. Parts of this book reminded me of the book I read in 8th grade, back in the late 60's, entitled, "Nanook of the North," (now apparently out of print) except that Nanook was an adult, and this story is about a teenaged boy.