Jean Craighead George, the Newbury Award-winning author, died on Tuesday at the age of 92. I'll be honest that I knew her name before I read her, but in the end I read very few of her books. Only three that I can think of, "Julie of the Wolves," "My Side of the Mountain" and its sequel "On The Far Side of the Mountain."George was clearly fascinated by nature, though I remember reading "Mountain" early in middle school and being unable to shake the feeling that it was unrealistic and took place in another time. I was right–she wrote the book in the fifties. It also convinced me that while I enjoyed camping with the Boy Scouts, I was not about to live off the land. (And puzzled me because he could have had such a nicer, easier life on the mountain with just a few simple gadgets)
Anyway, "Mountain" didn't enamor me, though I read it in class in middle school and I'm not sure I read anything for school then that I loved. I did read the sequel, and it's far from the only book I've read about a young man who goes off into the wilderness or into the wider world in search of the essential part of himself. I suppose in that sense, it was a pretty big deal.