King of the Mild Frontier

Summary: King of the Mild Frontier is the autobiography of famous author, Chris Crutcher. In this autobiography, we see get to experience his childhood all the way to adulthood. We see his pretty functional family, unless you count his mother who really enjoys drinking. There is also his dad, who tries to teach him about life… with some unexpected outcomes. Also included are his experiences at school as skinny kid and trying to ask his crush out. It all leads up to him becoming a therapist and from there, becoming the young adult book author we all know and love.

Strengths: The criteria to evaluate a nonfiction books ask questions like “What are the qualifications of the author?” and “Are the facts accurate?” I think that’s the beauty of autobiographies. The fact that no one is more qualified to write a book about yourself!  What is interesting about this autobiography is its organization and style. Like any good nonfiction book, we have a table of contents and a fun placed photo album at the end of the book which strengthens his use of visuals to portray his information. But it is interesting to note how the writing on the pages is slanted. I think this is a unique portrayal of an autobiography because the author sees the humor in his life and how things can get a bit “lopsided” just like his book.

Connections to Text: As I went through the book, specifically, his teenage years, I started to notice how he was developing as an adolescent. We see him develop a crush as he is “defining appropriate sex roles” and when he gets that giant zit it is a sign that his body is changing. It is also mentioned how he had quite the temper growing up. It is interesting to see how he used his temper to not only relate to his patients as a therapist, but you can see him channel his anger through his writing of his other books.

Other Connections:  Other Books by Chris Crutcher    Lesson Plans

Crutcher, C. (2003). King of the mild frontier: An ill-advised autobiography. New York: Greenwillow Books.

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