> Skip to content

A compelling tale of one boy's travels in America

America, 1955. A sixteen-year-old boy is forced to leave home. Alone in the world for the first time, he's new at everything. He's working in the beet fields, running from the law, discovering the 'carny' life and learning to survive on his own. With a pair of Levis and money in his pocket, he thinks he knows all there is to know about life... until he meets Ruby.


This hard-hitting, hard-living book comes with an 'unsuitable for younger readers' warning on the cover. One of the Random House striking teen 'Definitions' series, this is not for the faint-hearted, opening with a sickening scene of incest forcing a 16-year-old boy to leave home and gathering momentum with gritty, though never gratuitous, scenes of painful childbirth, pigeon neck-ringing and exploding pheasants. But it works.

Eileen Armstrong, School Librarian

It's Paulsen's ability to put readers behind the boy's eyes--so they can feel what's going on as well as see it--that makes this novel exceptional and so heartbreakingly real.


Paulsen's coming-of-age memoir is nearly Steinbeckian in its unadorned but effective prose, and the events of the author's young life have a universality that will draw in readers heading for their own rites of passage.


...a masterly piece of storytelling.

Jan Mark, Carousel

Read More

Formats & editions

  • EBook


    October 1, 2010

    RHCP Digital

    176 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
  • The Beet Fields
    Gary Paulsen



    November 1, 2002

    Red Fox

    176 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Gary Paulsen