The Island by Gary Paulsen


The book I read was The Island by Gary Paulsen. It is about a 15 year
old boy named Wil Neuton who moves with his family to northern Wisconsin.
There he finds an island on Sucker Lake where he stays to learn about
himself.

Wil likes riding his bike early in the morning. He also likes watching
nature. He is very tall for his age-6 feet 2-but well-built and strong. He
is honest,cares about others and prefers to talk things through than
resort to violence.

The title is good because the book is very much about the island and
about Wil finding himself on this island. The island also becomes a very
prominent point in Wil's life. By comparison and observation, he learns
that all things are connected.

An interesting minor character is Emil Aucht. On the morning of his
first day in Pinewood Wil wakes up to find Emil staring at him through the
window. Emil is an old man with one tooth, no hair and ears that stick out.
He chews tobacco and spits brown gunk all over the place. He first appears
in the story to request that Wil help him get his car out of the mud. Then
Emil reappears to fix the plumbing,wrecking Wil's parents' nerves in the
process.

The atmosphere in the story is that of a small hick town in northern
Wisconsin:open,friendly,relaxed and very laid-back. It strikes me as being
very much like "cottage country" in northern
Ontario:lakes,forest,fishing,small town life. The time is the late 1980's.

The novel ends with Wil seeing that his father is watching him from
shore. Wil rows over and finds that his father is tired and sad,his eyes
rimmed with red from crying. Wil invites his father over to the island and
realizes that this saga will only end when Wil finds an island big enough
for his whole family so they can learn what he has learned.

I feel that the most interesting part of the book is the beginning of
each chapter where there is a paragraph by Wil himself about life and other
important pieces of trivia. It offers insight into Wil's personality and
gives his views on many subjects.

In conclusion,I think this is a good book for people my age. It
stresses the importance of knowing who you are and of saving the
environment. I enjoyed it and it really made me think.