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My Side of the Mountain: 10/16/13
Although Jean Craighead George wrote more than eighty novels for young adults, I only discovered her as adult through one of her last books, The Cats of Roxville Station.
My Side of the Mountain was one of her earliest books. According to the introduction, she had some trouble selling it because the publisher didn't want to encourage children from running away from home. Because that's what Sam Gribley does — he runs away from his crowded, small apartment.
But he also runs away to home. See, Sam has a plan. He's not running for the sake of running. He's running to a plot of land owned by his family — a failed farm in Appalachia. The farm is gone but the land remains and with the research he's done, he figures he can live off what naturally grows there.
The book covers Sam's first year on his own, including the time it took to get there. Sam makes mistakes along the way and he shares them readily. He also meets people who either happen upon his hollowed out tree, or people he sees in the town in the few times he has to return to civilization for one reason or another.
I listened to an audio version of the book, produced by Recorded Books and read by Jeff Woodman. The book's diary format lends itself to being read aloud.