Wednesday 20 June 2012

172. Mud, Sweat and Tears Junior Edition by Bear Grylls

Mud, Sweat and Tears Junior Edition by Bear Grylls
Published June 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

What would it be like to jump from an aeroplane or to climb the highest mountain in the world, to survive in extreme conditions or train for the SAS? Bear Grylls knows the answers. Read the amazing true life story of Bear, the world's most intrepid young explorer. From his childhood on the Isle of Wight, learning to sail and climb with his father, to teenage mountaineering and martial arts training, he has always sought the ultimate in adventure. After surviving the gruelling selection course for the SAS Reserves as a young man, he suffered a horrific parachuting accident and broke his back in three places. Would he ever walk again? Only eighteen months later, defying doctors' expectations, Bear became one of the youngest ever climbers to scale Everest, aged only twenty-three. And this was just the beginning of his many adventures...

Everyone has their guilty pleasures, and one of mine is watching Man Vs Wild with Bear Grylls. It's not something I watch religiously, but when I stumble across it when flicking through the channels, I can't stop watching it. When this younger readers edition of Bear's autobiography was released, I knew I couldn't resist finding out a little more about this slightly crazy daredevil of a man.
The book begins by looking at his childhood and shows his sense of adventure from a very young age. It also looks at his time at boarding school and the horrible bullying he faced and how he learnt to deal with it.

The next part of the book is about the SAS training that Bear goes through. When you read about this, you have to wonder how anyone manages to make it through the grueling training.   It  is a very descriptive look at the conditions they endured and the pain they suffered.  The whole time, Bear just doesn't give up. 

Then there's the broken back, the prospect of never walking again which leads to his climbing Everest. This is another amazing journey the reader is taken on.  Again he is very descriptive about the climb, and the pain and suffering he endured to make it to the summit. There's a quote in the book that refers to people asking why would people risk their lives to climb a mountain, the quote is 'If you have to ask, you will never understand.'  I think that's true, because even after reading this book, I still don't really understand.  While a lot of this book is about the relentless battering Bear puts his body through, there is a small ray of light because in between all of this he even manages to fall in love!  

Very little of the book is about Man vs Wild, it's more about the journey that got him there in the first place.  One of the things that stands out most in this book is that Bear states categorically that he is just a normal man.  He's not the strongest, or the fastest, but he is determined, and he never gives up.  Whether you love the man or loath him, he is an interesting character with an amazing story.  I am constantly asked for biographies for young boys, so I am glad that  this one has been adapted.  Not only will boys love the details of the SAS training and the Everest climb, they will hopefully take away from the book the importance of living life to the full, never giving up on your dreams and being the the best version of yourself you can be.

Who will like this book: Boys age 11+
Read it if you like: Bear Grylls

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