Wilson Rawls broke my heart. But I loved it.

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: What book captured your heart? Write about why the first book you loved is the first book you loved.

The cover is well-worn and the pages are loose, but maybe the binding will hold together for one more reading.

At a very young age, I fell in love with Wilson Rawls’s timeless tale of Billy and his two coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. No book will ever be more cherished in my heart than Where the Red Fern Grows — the yellowed pages and tattered cover of my copy speaks volumes to the number of times I read and reread the heartrending story of loyalty and friendship. Of growing up and learning the deal with loss.

I’m sure most everyone has read this book at some point in their lives. It was required reading in school. But, if for some inexcusable reason, your grade school teacher skipped over this beloved book, go here for a brief rundown of one of the most bittersweet stories ever told.

Even though I know how it ends, I cry every time I read it. The pain of losing a pet — a friend — is heartbreaking.  This book might be responsible for my deep-rooted love for dogs today. I was always touched by the bond between Billy and his coonhounds. Their love, loyalty and companionship were unmatched.

8 Responses to “Wilson Rawls broke my heart. But I loved it.”
  1. Oh my goodness! I *almost* wrote on this book (I chose the same prompt you did). Oh, I LOVE Where the Red Fern Grows.

    When I was student teaching, I had to teach this to seventh graders. I am not kidding, I had to practice reading the last chapter at home four or five times so I could read it with seventh graders without crying.

    OH! It’s such a beautiful story. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. Shelley says:

    I almost wrote about this book too! I read it twice in school and I cried both times. It might be why I love dogs so much too! I feel such a connection to this book.

  3. Christy says:

    I just left a comment on another blog about how much this book made me cry. I actually had to be excused from class. I always read ahead of the teacher and I broke out into sobs while everyone else was back at a funny part. I got a strike for reading ahead, but my teacher did have enough pity to let me cry in the hallway.

  4. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Oh, that is a good book. Though, I must admit, when my oldest wanted to check it out of the library, I tried to get him to put it back. It’s so sad, and I wanted him to be a little older when he read it. He ignored me, read it, and now it’s one of his favorite books also.

  5. Dan says:

    I have to admit that this book is not one I remember having read. Interesting that so many have read it and been so moved. Either I missed it or it wasn’t used when I went to school.

    From the synopsis, it sounds like it has a bit of Old Yeller in its roots.

  6. Shelley says:

    I totally hate when I have to squish spiders too because that is disgusting! I hate the way it looks and..yeah. Ick!

  7. We didn’t read this at school, maybe we don’t have it in England… I’ll have to see if my local library has a copy.

  8. Lacey says:

    Omigosh I almost cried just THINKING about how this book ends. Waaaaaaaaaaah!

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