Gary Paulsen has lived a wild and wacky life that he has happily put into several biographies over the years. The stories in How Angel Peterson Got His Name took place during his thirteenth year shortly after WWII. The book comes with its own "Note of Caution" that helpfully states:
"I want you to remember two important facts:
1. We were quite a bit dumber then.
2. There wasn't any safety gear."
You'll understand the reason for "Note of Caution" when you get into the book. Gary and his friends ran around town without much supervision and had some interesting "toys" available to them through the Army Surplus store which was well stocked with left over WWII equipment. The most exciting items were those that could possibly make you fly. Things like parachutes of all kinds and targeting kites the size of small fighter planes were top sellers. The results of these ridiculously dangerous flying experiments were hysterical and cringe inducing. These boys invented their very own extreme sports with a few unique props. Some were as simple as their bikes and a ramp and others were as insane as tractor tire inner tubes and a hayloft (bungee jumping anyone?). None of their experiments ever turned out quite like they expected but they sure make for a good stories.
Paulsen takes many of the adventures from his own life and makes them into fictional stories that make you laugh, sometimes cringe and always keep you turning the pages. So it's fun to read one of his biographies (How Angel Peterson Got His Name) and see how it fits with one of his fictional stories (Masters of Disaster). You can definitely see some of the goofy actions from Angel Peterson in the goofy actions of the fictional characters of Masters of Disaster. Compare and contrast and laugh yourself silly!
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