Read Winter Camp by Kirkpatrick Hill Free Online
Book Title: Winter Camp|
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Reader ratings: 5.4
The author of the book: Kirkpatrick Hill
Edition: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date of issue: October 31st 1993
ISBN 13: 9780689505881
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 21.92 MB
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Good stories are about someone struggling. The term that is most often used to describe the struggle in fiction is “conflict”. I've learned to like the word “struggle” better, because the idea of it infers that the main character is active. Winter Camp had little to no struggle. Sure there were some minor things - trouble learning the “old ways”, and a child falling into a river that lasted about a paragraph and implied no danger. Oh yeah, and then what was supposed to be the climax - the miner, Nelson, gets attacked by a moose. Well, not really. The moose scrapes him with it’s antlers a bit, and then is easily frightened back into the woods from whence it came. And by the time this “conflict” appears, the story is almost over. For most of the book I was thinking “Okay... what’s going to make this interesting? Where’s the struggle?" I was surprised when, what was supposed to be the climax, finally arrived, how few pages were left - I was more than halfway through the book!
Also, it's (almost) all told, dealing very little with the specific (aka showing). Winter Camp could have been longer and more interesting, if only the author had taken the time to show what happened - the struggles the folks of “the old days” faced to survive; fleshed out the characters, rather than making the omniscient narrating voice tell you how each character is feeling and how they appear and feel and what they notice. Some examples that stood out to me: “He was hurt or he would have been back.” and “It happened so quickly that no one could think of anything to do.” or “Sister didn’t say anything. But she was beginning to like this old man a lot.” I don’t believe that's even grammatically correct! Stands out all the more if read aloud. Last example is a small scene, to avoid going on and on, which I could easily do… “‘Did you ever take him with you when you checked the traps?’ asked Nelson. ‘No, Natasha said you shouldn’t have dog-smell on your trapline trail. She was afraid he’d try to steal the bait, too. And get caught.’ As soon as Toughboy said those words they knew that was what had happened. Mutt was caught in a trap. He might have frozen to death by now.” And just like that, suspense has been shot.
A story can’t be completely shown - that would be a mistake too - but this is the tone that the entire book is written in. I won’t get started on the character descriptions and cheesy overused descriptive words. Or the many awkward sentences and word choices. And - ugh! - all those “suddenly”s as the action began to rise just about drove me bananas. The ending was rushed, over-told, and it was as if the author was writing, expecting you had been greatly intrigued by the story and attached to the characters up to now.
About the only thing I liked, so much so that I almost gave Winter Camp two stars, was the simplicity of some of the story elements, the homelike and occasionally well described scenery of the Alaskan mountains, and the Native American history and language scattered in and out.
To conclude, I hate to pick on a lesser known book, but then, it’s not surprising to me that it’s lesser known. This isn’t a book I’ll read again or recommend on a whim, and I’m certainly not interested in it’s prequel. Sorry. Avoid.
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Read information about the authorKirkpatrick Hill lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She was an elementary school teacher for more than thirty years, most of that time in the Alaskan "bush." Hill is the mother of six children and the grandmother of eight. Her three earlier books, Toughboy and Sister, Winter Camp, and The Year of Miss Agnes, have all been immensely popular. Her fourth book with McElderry Books, Dancing at the Odinochka, was a Junior Library Guild Selection. Hill's visits to a family member in jail inspired her to write Do Not Pass Go.
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