Although far from being his first book, this is the first full autobiography by Bear Grylls, star of Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. After 7 seasons, the show closed this spring, but Grylls’ fans are many.
In 1998, at 23 years old, Bear Grylls became the youngest British climber to successfully climb Everest. This was especially meaningful because prior to the Everest Expedition, while working with the British Special Air Service, he suffered a parachuting accident in Africa and broke his back in three places. After months of rehabilitation, focusing on Everest, he slowly became strong enough to attempt the ascent.
Adult/High School–Grylls’s love of nature and adventure to the max comes out full-force in this autobiography. The author is known to many through his television series Man vs. Wild. He grew up in a loving and supportive family with hardy and adventuresome role models, including his great-grandfather who was a British officer in World War I. He details the beginnings of his life in the wild when he and his father, a Royal Marine, went on high adventures together. He spends several chapters talking about surviving the grueling selection process for the British Army’s Special Air Services, which gave him the skills, confidence, and stamina to join an expedition to scale Mount Everest. As one of the youngest ever to accomplish that feat, he enjoyed a certain celebrity that led to commercial deals and, ultimately, his TV show. Grylls writes in a straightforward manner using short sentences and chapters to show his strong, engaging personality. He comes across as a regular person who figured out a long time ago that he was a risk-taker, but not a stupid one. He is all about careful preparation for his adventures. With each episode leading to one more exciting than the last, Grylls’s account will hook adventuresome readers as well as those whose idea of adventure is reading an exciting book.–Vicki Emery, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Fairfax County, VA