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Harris and Me Paperback – April 1, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 294 customer reviews

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Paperback, April 1, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"A hearty helping of old-fashioned, rip-roaring entertainment," said PW about this post-WWII story of an 11-year-old boy sent to spend the summer on his relatives' farm. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Paulsen can be very funny when he wants to be. In this novel, he has created a character that youngsters will love to read about, but would hate to be anywhere near in real life. Harris is a crude, rude, scheming troublemaker, but he has a sense of fun and excitement that makes readers want know what he'll do next. Like his literary predecessors Soup and The Great Brain, Harris causes most of the trouble while the less mischievous narrator gets a good part of the blame (and often the pain). Half of the laughs come about as a result of Harris's crazy ideas, like attaching a washing-machine motor to a bicycle. Equally amusing, though, is Paulsen's tongue-in-cheek first-person narration. PG-13 Award: In the spirit of exaggerated realism, there's plenty in this book to offend some adults, including French postcards, plenty of damns and hells, and more than one serious injury to Harris's "business."
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1060L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440409942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440409946
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,362,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gary Paulsen never shuns writing about real life to spare your kiddies' artificial innocence. His books deal with the pains and joys of childhood - parental quarrels, alcoholism, abusive behavior, etc. - more forthrightly than any other children's writer I encountered with my own son as he was learning to read, and my son loved Paulsen's book enough to choose them for himself.

"Harris and Me" is a first-person narrative, told by a boy whose dysfunctional family has sent him to live with kinfolk on a backcountry farm in Minnesota. Harris is the bigger boy whose family has the farm. He becomes the narrator's surrogate brother and role model for devil-may-care enjoyment of boyish wildness. The narrator sense that his own nature is different from Harris's but he treasures Harris's spirit. It's a quick read for an adult, a kind of hyper-condensed adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It's funny fun for the right kid to read silently or out loud, but children raised in a household devoted to propriety may find it incomprehensible, since propriety is not a virtue on Gary Paulsen's farm.

One might suspect that this narrative, like many of Paulsen's, is semi-autobiographical. I'm very certain, however, that Paulsen has somehow gotten ahold of my unwritten memoirs, and used MY childhood for his model. I've seldom read anything that depicts the experiences of farm life, in Minnesota or in Sweden, fifty years ago or today, as accurately as this short book. I mention Sweden because I lived as a boy on a diary farm near Nykoping that was identical to Harris's. Like Paulsen, I've traveled very far, physically and culturally, from that farm, but in my heart of hearts I'm still Harris, and/or his admiring sidekick, myself.
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Format: Paperback
Due to his parents' alcoholic tendencies and their inability to care properly for him, the unnamed narrator of this coming-of-age tale is forced to move from place to place throughout most of his childhood. We are told of one summer in early 1950s, which lands our eleven-year-old narrator with Harris and his family, the Larsens, who are "shirttail relatives" and have willingly taken him under their wing to live on their remote farm. The family consists of an "Aunt" Clair, "Uncle" Knute, fifteen-year-old Glennis, a sort of cousin, and her nine-year-old brother, Harris.

Although younger and smaller than the narrator, nine-year-old Harris is a wild, rambunctious, hilarious scoundrel, and he quickly initiates the narrator in the ways of rural life, whether the initiation is welcome or not. Each chapter in this book details a harebrained, yet inspired scheme that Harris concocts in order to make the farm a more interesting place to live. Each page is filled with colorful language, vividly drawn characters, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Perhaps in spite of the constant hilarity of each adventure the book resonates on a much deeper level as well, for the narrator, who has for his whole life been a rootless, wandering soul, with no one to care for him, finally finds a home in the most unlikely of places. The humor and heart-string-tugging emotion of this book will resonate long after the last page has been turned.

Highly recommended for readers nine and up!

FYI: Although the narrator remains unnamed in the book, this "novel" is rumored to be much more biographical than Gary Paulsen perhaps at time of publication wanted to be revealed. Therefore, as I teach this book to a class of 7th graders, I remind them that we can simply refer to "The Narrator" as "Gary."
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Format: School & Library Binding
This book deserves at least 10 stars. I confess, it is my favorite book of all time. Read the entire first chapter and I guarantee that you won't be able to put it down. It is hilarious!
This autobiographical novel is about the summer Gary Paulsen spent at his cousin's farm. Harris is a real person! And so is Gary - so he didn't get to choose the ending to this story. Unfortunately, Gary's parents were mean drunks. But, somehow, he survived. And he has given us some of the best survival stories kids will ever read. So, if you're looking for a sequel, pick up one of his other books. Many are based on his life.
I had the honor of meeting Gary a few years ago at an author visit. He read aloud the chapter about his experience with the electric fence. We laughed so hard, tears were streaming down our faces. This story brings back some great memories of my childhood and the wild stunts my brothers pulled when we were growing up on our family farm.
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Format: Hardcover
Harris and Me is set in the 1950's and is a hilarious look at farm life through an 11 year old city boy. The narrator has been sent to live with relatives to get away from his abusive alcoholic parents. The book centers on his relationship with his half cousin Harris, a rude nine year old who constantly needs a slap in the head for his profanities. All the mishaps and troubles they get into the whole summer long is well worth reading about and I guarantee you'll be laughing so hard, you'll find it hard to breathe at some points. From jumping off a barn loft onto a massive horse to peeing on an electrical wire, Harris and his cousin will make this a summer to remember. I personally loved this book and couldn't put it down. Some of the troubles Harris and his cousin got into reminded me of when I was that age. My cousin and I did about the same outrageous (and insanely stupid) stunts that they did in the book and I sometimes found myself up half the night re-reading a few parts just for laughs. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh and for that, I give it the full 5 stars.
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