Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Rifle Mass Market Paperback – February 10, 1997
|New from||Used from|
Audio, Cassette, Unabridged, Audiobook
See the Best Kids' Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for great new reads for kids of all ages? Browse our editors' picks for the best kids' books of the year so far including gorgeous picture books, fun new series starters, and captivating young adult novels.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up?This novella focuses on a specific weapon crafted during the Revolutionary War. At the book's conclusion, set in 1994, this rifle still functions and performs as it was designed to do. Paulsen, who can create vivid portraits of individuals in relation to specific places, takes the focus off the people here, although they remain distinct characters, and puts this object?a rifle?at the core of the story. Although he seems to be saying that people don't kill people, guns do, this message is not sustained. The circumstances seem so unique and the love of weaponry so strong that the anti-gun theme is fatally weakened. For anyone whose mind is made up on this issue, this book will probably not change it. However, it could lead to intense discussion and exploration of how our society has evolved into its present gun-loving culture and into the intense anguish and human cost we collectively ignore as we continue our love affair with weaponry. For readers willing to think about this issue, for those looking for ways to introduce the debate, there is no better vehicle than this short, engagingly written story of one rifle and its fatal impact on one modern boy.?Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 7^-9. In his latest novel, Paulsen explores the history of a flintlock rifle, meticulously describing the skill and artistry of gunsmith Cornish McManus as he spends months creating a gun both beautiful and "sweet" (meaning accurate). Using his usual spare style, Paulsen describes the rifle's use in the Revolutionary War and follows its story into the twentieth century, when it is exchanged by a scathingly depicted gun fanatic for an Elvis-on-velvet painting, and ultimately ends up killing a teenager, Richard, in a freak accident that occurs without human intervention. The omniscient narrator, who speaks in an ironic tone reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut, details the events small and large (943 baseball games; finding a genetic cure for heart disease) that Richard missed by dying prematurely. Paulsen's message is clear and cutting: a machine made for killing, no matter how lovingly crafted and benignly kept, remains a machine made for killing. Susan Dove Lempke --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
1) First 20 or so pages are about the rifle being created. It seemed a bit much middle school readers (readers that have this in my local summer reading list) due to all the technical gun smithing terms running around.
2) Then there is a good bit where a revolutionary solider has the rifle and uses it well during the war.
3) It becomes 1993, the rifle eventually finds it's way into the hands of a gun enthusiast. This is where the true bias of the author creeps in. The guy is someone that lives in a motor home, carries cash only, and fear the government while going to gun shows and amassing weapons. The events in Waco, TX take place and this character sympathizes with the cult that was massing firearms. Adding to the bias is that this character was given a particular fixation with Jesus Christ along with his obsession for firearms and the Constitutional right to bear arms while fearing the government. The character is a stereotype that is so severe it seems based off of the author's worst nightmares.
4) The next owner of the gun is a man that trades the "gun nut" for it.
5) Then we get about 12 pages of back story on a nice boy that is well loved by his parents (despite chronic ear infections in his early years). We get this story because the next part has the characters celebrating Christmas (oh the tragedy, it's during Christmas!) and the rifle (which is set above the fireplace) goes off when a spark from the fireplace lands exactly on the rifle in such a way to ignite the powder that has been sealed away airtight for over 200 years. The rifle fires and shoots the boy in the head.
6) But the bias doesn't stop there! Then we get 2 pages about all the things this boy would have done if he had lived! We hear about the sunrises, sunsets, sports (other usual stuff he'd have experienced) and then we learn that he would have fallen in true love and married the girl, would have gone to medical school and would have cured some sort of heart disease or something. Really? Why not make him President of the United States and solve all social & medical issues as well as find fairy dust along the way?
7) And of course there is the epilogue. The rifle is negligently thrown over a bridge and a fisherman happens to be there and takes the rifle. I honestly felt like Kate Blanchett was narrating about the ring from "Lord of the Rings" but this time she was talking about the rifle with it's will to move on and spread pain and loss.
Pros: I found it very fun to read, started and fished it on the gym Treadmill in one afternoon. It was sort of like I couldn't put it down, but only because I couldn't wait to see what happen next (look below in the "cons" and you will see how that isn't a good thing). I couldn't wait to see the anti-gun propaganda continue. It's like a roller coaster ride of bias.
Cons: The obvious agenda of the author is sickening. It is full of very far fetched moments. Maybe even less believable than the fire place igniting the powder in the 200 old rifle is that idea that not one person fired the rifle since the revolutionary war. I buy that maybe no one could tell it was loaded, but it's hard to imagine it wasn't test fired somewhere safe shortly after being acquired since 1993. I don't think I've ever met a gun owner that used a firearm simply as display and didn't make sure it did what it was supposed to before/right after buying.