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King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography Library Binding – April 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Crutcher was an awkward youngster, always chosen last for sports and the object of constant ridicule. While episodes of his life are often laugh-out-loud funny, Crutcher explores some of the more painful elements of his childhood. These include his mother's alcoholism, his uncontrollable temper, and strained family relationships. Audio version available from Listening Library.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 8-12. Like his novels, Crutcher's autobiography is full of heartbreak, poignancy, and hilarity. Candid and casual, Crutcher shares stories from his childhood and adolescence in Cascade, Idaho. Reminiscences of some of his youthful rites of passage are laugh-out-loud funny, such as his humiliating initiation into his high-school athletic club. On a more serious note, he discusses his occasionally rocky relationships with his parents and siblings. He talks openly about his struggles with a bad temper that constantly got him into trouble, how he came to terms with questions about God, how he confronted intolerance, and how he found his own place in the world. He also shares several painful glimpses into his work as a child and family therapist trying to help people heal some very broken lives. This honest, insightful, revealing autobiography is a joy to read. Crutcher's fans will relish this intimate glimpse of the author, and the book may win some new readers for his fiction. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060502509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060502508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,943,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. S. VINE VOICE on April 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
" 'Wanna do something neat?' are four words that strike terror in my heart to this day. My answer was always yes when the question came from my brother. Then he'd tell me what the neat thing was, and it would always seem not so neat until he explained how what seemed like something that could really get you in trouble was, in fact, neat. Then I'd get in trouble."
Chris Crutcher's outrageous tales of being a little brother, a young scholar, a doomed outdoorsman, and an athlete of questionable repute caused me to convulse with laughter to the point where my head started to hurt, and I began figuring that just one more story like the last one and I'd surely pee my pants.
And lying just below the surface of this wacky World According to Young Master Crutcher is a sparkling mine full of poignant vignettes and profound-yet-simple truths about a youngster coming to terms with God, with death, with family, with intolerance, and with his place in the world.
In KING OF THE MILD FRONTIER, Chris Crutcher goes on to talk from the heart about his idea of real heroes and reveals several brief (and heartbreaking) glimpses of his work as a child and family therapist. He gives us a look at his path to becoming a writer. By the time he's done, readers have a sense of how the experiences and revelations have melded together into those honest and gritty novels that we know and love him for, and which earned him the 2000 Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring lifetime contribution in writing for teens.
Chris Crutcher is a consummate storyteller. He's also a guy who knows how to slice through the crap that authority figures often try feeding to kids. Those two hundred plus pages of KING OF THE MILD FRONTIER: AN ILL-ADVISED AUTOBIOGRAPHY passed by much too quickly for me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my all time favorite books. Although Chris Crutcher is mainly famous for his young adult fiction, this is a memoir about growing up in Cascade, Idaho, and is truly one of the funniest books I have ever read. The stories will stay with you forever.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow, what a book. This book is hilarious. The author, Chris Crutcher, is writing about his life growing up in the small town of Cascade, Idaho. I'm from Idaho and let me tell you it is one small town. He talks about all of the times his older brother John would play would play tricks on him to get him in trouble. I like this book because it reminds me of all the family dinners we've had where my mom's brothers would tell similar stories like Chris'.
I like how the author shares his emotions with the readers. The way he writes, the language he uses, is verry real to the language that his target audiance speaks. All in All it was an ok book I think I would recomend it to an older audiance though because I think that they can relate to it more.
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Format: Hardcover
Chris Crutcher really brings Cascade, Idaho to life in his book King of the Mild Frontier. He explores what it's really like to grow up in a small logging town with a large imagination. Everyone views of his family as "perfect", but Chris takes you behind the scenes of his life and shows you what "perfect"really is.
I learned a lot of valuable advice in this book and had a ton of laughs. I highly recommend this book to teenagers because they can really relate, from growing up or being grown up and looking back. This book captures the funny side of life and the no worry attitude of a teenager, and also manages to capture the serious, complicated side of life that everyone has to deal with somehow.
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Format: Audio CD
I reject the idea that the only life worth living is one filled with (pick any or all) glamour, disaster and incandescent achievement. In fact, I think any life well observed and reflected upon has the potential to enthrall.

Young adult novelist Chris Crutcher apparently agrees. On a spring break trip, I listened to a CD of his disarmingly titled "King of the Mild Frontier, an Ill-Advised Autobiography," which he reads himself. The book is organized thematically rather than chronologically, with topics ranging from romance to sports to religion. While the story focuses on Crutcher's child and teen-age years in Idaho during the '50s, there are references to later incidents, including the sale of his first young adult novel ("Running Loose").

Crutcher's books are frequently excluded from libraries because the themes include adolescent sexuality and because his characters talk as profanely as a lot of real kids talk. While the memoir is comparatively tame, it takes on un-pretty issues like his mom's nightly consumption of bourbon, which often resulted in young Chris's pulling up a chair to listen to her woes rather than going out to play with his buddies.

Not that the book is grim. In fact, it's frequently hilarious, usually in the gross way beloved of adolescent boys. In one disgusting episode, our eighth grade hero picks off a scab, which is lovingly described, then puts it in a jewelry box, and presents it to his current crush. There's an episode featuring a colossal pimple and a Coke bottle that I don't even want to think about.

But the book is also wise. Children's writers are warned not to be didactic, so it's refreshing that Crutcher lays out hard-won life lessons without shilly shallying - whether the topic is Christianity, marriage, telling the truth, or table manners.
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