Quick Thoughts: “Where The Red Fern Grows”

“Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads:

Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann — a Boy and His Two Dogs…

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains — and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that’s only found…

An exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.


I read this as kid but didn’t remember much about it aside from crying my eyes out while reading it. For some reason, I mentally connected that sadness with enjoyment (along with the fact that it’s a classic of children’s literature). I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy the book like I thought I would.

The book isn’t bad at all. I can see why it’s beloved and why it’s stood the test of time. Animal stories always tuck at the heart and always seem to be loved. Combine that with the classic coming-of-age aspect, mix with nostalgia for a simpler time, and it’s a sure hit.

I couldn’t ever fully connect with the story. I find it a bit harder to connect with male protagonists. Sure, occasionally I make an instant connection but generally speaking I struggle to fully “get” them.  Then there’s the fact that Billy is a good old country boy. As a city girl, I don’t have any common ground with him so it’s even harder to fully connect. Both of those aspects worked against me liking Billy (and the story).

The bottom line? Eh. I wasn’t a fan.

4 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts: “Where The Red Fern Grows”

  1. I never had to read this one for school, so I never read it. I try to avoid animal stories at all costs since they almost inevitably have animals dying in them and I’m such a wuss that I can’t deal with dying animals! This is one of those children’s classics that I feel bad for not having read, though, since it was pretty iconic. Oh well, maybe one of these days I’ll pick it up.

    • Dying animal books are the worst! :-/

      I wouldn’t say it’s something you should feel bad for not reading. I think you really need to be the target audience to really enjoy it.

  2. My sister read this 4-5 times as a kid, so it would be interesting if she connected as an adult. I never read it and just told her I should try. Now I am not so hot to do so!

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