Donner Dinner Party
By Nathan Hale
Amulet Books, 2013. 123 pgs. Graphic Novel
Based on the true events surrounding the ill-fated Donner Party, this tale follows the Reed family on their journey from Illinois to California in 1846. From bad choices such as taking a “short-cut” that was promised to be smooth and fast when it wasn’t, to bad weather when a snow storm hit as they were crossing the mountains, the wagon train ended up spending the winter stuck on the wrong side of the mountains, starving and struggling to survive.
This fictionalized account of the events surrounding the Donner Party was fascinating to read. It’s a book written specifically for young readers, even while addressing the topic of cannibalism. If you want to skip the most macabre bits it tells you when to skip ahead, doing so in a relatively humorous way considering the subject. As a look back at pioneer history, and even local history as it covers their crossing of the Salt Lake Valley, this was a very engaging way to turn the Donner Party into more than just a macabre story. I would easily recommend it to others, especially those interested in history and survival.