I cried buckets of tears over Rawls' masterpiece and reread the final chapters over and over willing the story to end differently. I had read other books dealing with death before this, of course, but my animal-loving soul was struck by the finality of it all, especially in the face of the heroic courage of Old Dan and Little Ann. The themes in Where the Red Fern Grows are complex: the success of having worked hard for something good , the cruelty of the boys, the intensity of the hunt, and the heart-stopping moment with the axe are all woven together with explorations of human loneliness and the joy of animal companionship.
I originally wrote this post for Claire Legrand's series of Middle-Grade memories, where authors talk about their first impressions of favorite books - not how they would perceive the book now, but how they did back then. I'm reposting bits of it here because writing the post reminded me how much I absolutely love WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, and I'd love to hear Mayhemers' thoughts on this classic novel. Have you read it? How old were you?
Also, I'm wondering what your middle-grade memories are. What book so impacted you that it left you crying? Or you found you saw the world or your parents or your siblings in a whole new way once you turned that final page?