Friday, July 20, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - The Trap

I just finished John Smelcer's The Trap. If you're a fan of Gary Paulsen's books like Hatchet and Brian's Winter, you'll enjoy this one. The story is told from two perspectives, in alternating chapters. 17-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel is a native Alaskan living in a remote village. His elderly grandfather still sets and checks trap lines during the winter. When the grandfather doesn't return from checking his lines, no one in the village is concerned except Johnny and his grandmother. Johnny is torn between going out and searching for his grandfather, possibly embarrassing him, and letting him come home on his own. What no one else knows, is that the grandfather has accidentally set off one of his traps on his own leg, and is trapped alone out in the winter Alaskan wilderness. The chapters alternate between Johnny's perspective and his grandfather's. In addition to being a great survival story, this book also gives you a really good look at the way many of the Indians of Alaska live today. You might be surprised at the poverty and extreme conditions. The author is of Ahtna Athabaskan (an Alaskan tribe) descent, and according to the book jacket, is the only surviving speaker, reader, and writer of their native language. The Trap is a quick read, so good for reluctant readers. But it's also just a very good book and I'd highly recommend it.

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