Mental Health: Reading Paulsen’s Autobiography

March 8, 2022

Gone to the Woods

For this month of focusing on mental illness and mental health,  I want to mention an amazing new book by the late children’s author, Gary Paulsen. A few weeks ago, someone was asking about books that touched upon—or included—domestic abuse/ family violence. Paulsen’s book—his latest and last book—Gone to the Woods—is an autobiography. The writing is powerful and beautiful. Paulsen includes the unbelievable neglect and abuse he experienced throughout his childhood. His descriptions are matter-of-fact without self-pity. His message is hopeful without despair. It is interesting to reflect on how his own experiences guided and affected his writing. Books saved him and his books, I’m certain, have saved many a reader.

Gone to the Woods, Surviving a Lost Childhood.  Gary Paulsen.  Farrar, Straus, Giroux, NY. 2021.  Gary Paulsen, three-time Newbery Honor-winning author, has shared his own story of abandonment, abuse, and survival.

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...