Parents need to know that Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood is a harsh, harrowing memoir by bestselling author and three-time Newbery Honor recipient Gary Paulsen, known for his intense survival novel Hatchet. He punctuates the vivid horrors of his early life with powerful descriptions of the things that saved him -- the beauty of nature, the brief experience of being in a loving family, a post-World War II America still wild and free enough that a 12-year-old could flee his drunken, abusive parents and make a life for himself, however fleetingly, doing farm work on the Great Plains. He describes how worlds opened up for him through reading and writing after a librarian treated an outcast kid with respect. In a series of third-person vignettes that take "the boy" from the age of 5 to his enlistment in the Army, there's physical and emotional violence aplenty, from wartime atrocities and badly wounded soldiers and plane-crash survivors attacked by sharks to young Gary's parents trying to kill him. Crude language (including "piss," "bastards," "bugger," "crap," "balls") and situations, from bathroom crises to Army physicals, are common. Much of the story involves hunting, fishing, and wilderness survival, with matter-of-fact but gory detail. Ultimately, it's an inspirational tale of determination, self-respect, and transformational kindness, but the narrative road goes through horrific, and real, territory. The publisher recommends Gone to the Woods for kids age 8 to 12. But given the amount of child abuse, alcoholism, his parents' violent physical fights, and the implication that his mother used Gary to attract men in bars for sex, we think this is better suited for teens 13 and up.