“My Side of the Mountain” is Great, if You Like That Sort of Thing


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A lot of people LOVE survivalist stuff. Careful descriptions of how someone managed to live on their own, how they ate, how they made a house, etc.

That’s all right. It’s a fantasy that particularly appeals to people who feel confined and smothered by the modern world, which is hardly an unnatural feeling.

But I don’t feel like that. I’m not interested in what happens to one boy out in the mountains: I’m interested in what happens to the little boy who lives in the next apartment. I’m interested in how societies work and react, and how we live in them, not in how we might step out of them.

Wow, that sounds arrogant, doesn’t it? I’m sure someone who’s joy is the outdoors and survivalism could come back at me with a perfect response, something like “we get so caught up in each others lives, it’s easy to lose the soul of the individual in the madness of the city,” or “if they apocalypse kicked in tomorrow, you’d be bear food.” Which is all fair.

The truth is, everyone and no one is right about this. That’s why we have authors writing stories for both sides, and for sides in-between, and for entirely imaginary sides. That’s why we have giant bookstores and millions of books. So we can all be happy.

And, thinking about it, stepping out of what I usually like is good for me. I have to ask “why don’t I like it? It’s not ‘bad.’ why doesn’t it appeal to me?” And then I get to write things like this.


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