Wilson Rawls – Where the Red Fern Grows Audiobooktext
Wilson Rawls’ classic and timeless story of a young boy’s coming of age is heartbreaking, sentimental, and utterly charming. An ode to love, family and the beauty of nature. Located in the Ozarks, northeastern Oklahoma, Billy wants nothing more than to have a puppy or, to be more precise, two puppies. He wants to train them to hunt, although his mother has forbidden him to use or own a gun until he is 21 or older. For two years he waits, collecting enough money to do whatever he can, he eventually raises enough for two puppies who are delivered by train to the nearest town to his home. Wilson Rawls – Where the Red Fern Grows audiobook.
“I knelt down and gathered them in my arms. I buried my face between their shaking bodies and cried. The station master, sensing something more than two dogs and a boy, waited in silence. . ”
My dad didn’t grow up in the Ozarks, but he trapped animals as a young boy to raise money for a dog. Selling skins to Sears Roebuck & Co. was then enough to make this dream come true, then later to earn him enough money to fly enough hours to be enlisted (after being declared 4F) to train pilots in Americus, in Georgia. When he was able to become a civilian pilot again, the first thing he did with the money he saved was to buy another dog. On many levels, I felt this story was so close to that of my father, both from poor rural areas.
“Men,” said Mr. Kyle, “people have been trying to understand dogs since the dawn of time. You never know what they will do. You can read about the days a dog saved the life of a drowning child or lay down their life for their owner. Some people call it loyalty. I do not. I might be wrong, but I call it love – the deepest kind of love.
It’s such a wonderful story; I highly recommend you read it. Read it again, if you read it as a child.
Somehow, I never read this book when I was a kid. I wish I had had it, so I could compare how it affected me then versus now as a grandmother. The story is active and intense, with incredibly detailed descriptions of Billy’s adventures with his dogs. I think only an author who grew up in the mountains and experienced night hunting and complete freedom to roam, like Billy – and Wilson Rawls – did, could have written this book. . In some senses, the story is dated, both because it was published in 1961 and because the setting is an isolated farmhouse in the Ozarks circa 1920. For example, “women” are seen as opaque and too emotional (Billy’s three sisters are not even named in the book, although they do play a role). Animals are often seen as unnecessary, and the repeated descriptions of coon hunting and coon killing are gory (and the family cat’s injuries are ridiculed). Personal grief is something to ignore or quickly bounce back from. However, the book seems true to its time and place, and in any historical fiction the world will be different from ours. Anyone who has loved a dog will relate to Billy’s deep connection to his dogs. I enjoyed the adventure and relished Billy’s amazing descriptions of his life with Old Dan and Little Ann.
I grew up in Northwest Arkansas a few miles away where this novel depicts the life of a boy and his dogs. So I lived part of that life. I took my dad to see the movie and he cried like a baby, saying “this is the story of my life as a 12 year old boy!” Dad and I loved this story and can watch it over and over again. The rest of my family thinks it’s too sad and they don’t like sad movies. The truth is, they never bonded with a dog and the outdoors. Growing up as a boy, you and your dog (s) are inseparable! Our dogs were neither tied up nor fenced. They had a niche to protect them from the elements. But they never strayed or ran away. They were part of our family. Canine years are like 10 human years. So you know your dog will only last 7-10 years. And then you get another one. They are all special and unique in their own way. And you can never really replace them. But you love them all. If you have more than one child and someone asks you which child do you like the most, and you answer “all!” Wilson Rawls – Where the Red Fern Grows audiobook.
So you get another dog, and you and that dog bond in a special way. Watching a movie or reading this book floods your memories of all the dogs you have had and the memories of growing up with each one. Yes, you will laugh and cry! But for me, it’s not sad, just a reminder of happy, carefree days growing up!
Wilson Rawls is a Cherokee Indian and an excellent storyteller.