The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer by Gary Paulsen

The Beet FieldsIn this about-face to Hatchet, Gary Paulsen has penned a steamy, seamy autobiographical fiction about a boy learning to be a man as he works his way through his sixteenth summer. The tortured protagonist runs away from his drunken mother, does a short stint as a sugar beet migrant worker, and ends up working in a traveling carnival where he partners up with the chicken-head-biting-geek-guy. It’s while putting in time at the carnival that he meets older woman Ruby, a hard but pretty stripper who seduces him in her trailer. Full of first times of every kind, what makes The Beet Fields more than just a sensationalized look at the underbelly of a runaway teen’s life is Paulsen’s luminous writing–and the fact that you get the distinct feeling that this has all happened to the author himself. But be warned folks–this is no Hatchet. Teens with weak stomachs or squeamish natures should stay with Brian in the Canadian wilderness.

4 thoughts on “The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer by Gary Paulsen

  1. Me too. And not a lot of people know about it anymore because it’s kind of old, but it’s my favorite Gary Paulsen title.

  2. While I havn’t read the entire book, still working on it, I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far. It’s pretty explicit in some parts, but still a good read.

  3. i’m 13 and it was kind of hard for me to get past the intercourse with ruby but the story was interesting. Stay away if younger than 14 or like the sinipses says a weak stomach.

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