Guts: The True Stories Behind “Hatchet” and the Brian Books

ISBN: 0385326505
ISBN 13: 9780385326506
By: Gary Paulsen

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Adventure Biography Childrens Memoir Non Fiction Nonfiction Survival To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Guess what -- Gary Paulsen was being kind to Brian. In "Guts," Gary tells the real stories behind the Brian books, the stories of the adventures that inspired him to write Brian Robeson's story: working as an emergency volunteer; the death that inspired the pilot's death in "Hatchet"; plane crashes he has seen and near-misses of his own. He describes how he made his own bows and arrows, and takes readers on his first hunting trips, showing the wonder and solace of nature along with his hilarious mishaps and mistakes. He shares special memories, such as the night he attracted every mosquito in the county, or how he met the moose with a sense of humor, and the moose who made it personal. There's a handy chapter on "Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition." Recipes included. Readers may wonder how Gary Paulsen survived to write all of his books -- well, it took guts.

Reader's Thoughts


a) Non-fictionb) 160 pagesc) Guts by Gary Paulsen are about the experiences of Gary Paulsen that influenced him to right his books. In the book he said that Brian’s experience with a pilot’s heart attack is one of the scariest experiences Brian has ever had. Gary Paulsen has had that experience; he has been in a plane when the pilot has had a heart attack. Also in the book Hatchet, Brian had to hunt and make a fire out of nothing but nature. Gary Paulsen had to do just that. Gary Paulsen also got stampeded by a moose just like Brian in Hatchet. This book is all about Gary Paulsen’s exciting experiences with nature that influenced him to right his books.d) This is a very good book. Gary Paulsen did a very good job at describing his experiences with a lot of detail. His life seems like a lot of fun in his book. He goes hunting and fishing. There are also some not so fun things like getting run over by a moose and the Iditarod. I really like how he describes the situation and his thoughts that are going through his mind. There are also some interesting survival techniques and facts in this book. Overall this is a very good book for nature lovers.


I taught seventh grade middle school for 35 years and during part of that time the sixth grade read Hatchet. Naturally when they came to me the following year some were hooked on Gary Paulsen books. From time-to-time I find myself reading teen books out of habit and desire, I have a list of authors I still enjoy and Gary Paulsen is one. His books have always made me feel I was sitting listening to him tell me the story.If you have read or you know someone who has read the "Brian" books I would recommend this book by Paulsen. In it Mr. Paulsen explains how some of the situations Brain finds himself in are based on his own life experiences. Although I purchased the book from a school book club I would also suggest it is good reading for any of the hunters in your life. It is fascinating to read how Mr. Paulsen made his own bow and arrows, as well as, teaching himself to hunt with this homemade equipment through trial and error. Finally it is a quick read for those reluctant readers. 150 pages and not full pages of reading. Enjoy something different.


Goodreads Review Format 50pts.You will choose 5 of the 8 reading strategies to write in your review. You should be working on this while you are reading the book. Use this format and then copy and paste this information into goodreads.comEach strategy is worth 10pts. You should explain how you used the reading strategy and find at least one example from the story (Make sure to include the page number.) Each response should be at least 3-4 sentences.Explanation of Reading StrategiesPreview Get a sense of a text before you start to read. Look for clues in the title, graphics and subheadings.Set a Purpose Decide WHY you are reading a particular text.Consider how your purpose might affect the way you approach a text. Take notes or just enjoy?Use Prior Knowledge Think of information regarding the material in the story that you already knew. As you read, connect what you know to what you are learningPredict Try to figure out what will happen next and how the selection might end. Note details about plot or character that hint at where the story is heading. Keep reading to find out how accurate your prediction was.Visualize Create a mental picture of characters, events and setting to help understand what is happening. Look for descriptive details about characters, settings and events.Monitor Stop occasionally to review what you have read: make clear your understanding. Question what is happening and why. Clarify your understanding by rereading difficult parts or asking for help. Evaluate how well you are understanding the text.Make InferencesForm opinions about what you have read. Develop your own ideas about characters and events. Make logical guesses, using evidence in the text and what you know from experience.Connect (You will be conferencing with me over this part)Relate personally to what you have read. Think of similarities between the descriptions in the selection and what you have personally experienced, heard about, and read about.Format_____Strategy #1______________ explanation with examples from book_____Strategy #2______________ explanation with examples from book_____Strategy #3______________ explanation with examples from book_____Strategy #4______________ explanation with examples from book_____Strategy #5 Connect_______ explanation with examples from bookSample Format Log on to I put an example of this format (in Mrs. Kool’s books) under the review Wonder by RJ Palacio. Your review should look similar. Strategy #1 (Preview) I thought the book would be about a guy who found a dead body that was covered in guts. I got that idea on the title of the book. (Gary Paulsen) It wasn’t about that at all. It was about a guy name Brain who gets lost in the woods. And we needs to have ways to survive.Strategy # 2 (Connect) On page 71 (Gary Paulsen) Brain is talking about how when he was a little child he would go out to the state parks and see a lot of different Wildlife. I connected to that because When I go to state parks I always see sometime of wild animal … like deer or coytoes ect. Strategy #3 (visulize) On page 73 (Gary Paulsen) Brain is describing what he sees, A smelly gutty eye that is dangling out of the deads animal’s body. I could picture in my head the animal laying their dead with a nasty smell.Strategy #4 ( Inference) on page 66 (Gary Paulsen) i thought that Brain was going to die but I thought wrong because he remember everything he learned about how to survive in the wild. So he didn’t end up dying he was perfectly fine only with some cuts . Strategy # 5 ( Set a purpose) The reason why I am reading this is because right away I thought it was going to be a good book by its Title. And it kept on getting better as you read it.

Dan Prillwitz

“Guts” is a book written about the events that led up to Gary Paulsen writing about Brian Robeson’s story in the books: Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return. The first chapter is about the experiences Gary has had with airplanes which is how Brian ends up in the wilderness alone in “Hatchet.” The whole book is basically about all the times Gary has had encounters in the wilderness and how he had to cope with the problems he had. The main character in “Guts” is Gary Paulsen. There are other characters but they are not as important. The story is not really written in a set place. Gary talks about all the times he is in the wilderness so you could kind of say it is taken place in the wilderness but it is never really said. It is written from the time he was a young teen to a middle age adult. The main theme in this book is determination. Gary is saying how he has had so many tough times in the wilderness and he had to be determined to make it out alive. Another theme could be creativeness because Gary has to come up with ways to cook things, and make things while he is out in the wilderness. Overall, I thought that this book was very good. I always was putting myself in Gary’s shoes asking myself what I would do. I would recommend it to people who like to read books that are written about the wild and like adventure.


I really liked 'Hatchet:The Truth' as it was an excellent book filled with adventure. It's from Gary Paulsen's best-selling series, 'Hatchet'. It's about a boy called Brian who crashlands in the northern woods with only a hatchet to keep him alive. It takes you through all his life changing experiences like the plane crash, animal attacks and insect swarms he had to live through. The differnce between this book and the others in the best-selling series is that this one goes into detail about all the expericences Brian, the protagonist, had. You should concider reading the other bookes in the series as it will make more sence once you do. All the books are jsut amazing as the others and you will enjoy them all!This was an excellent book and I would remcommened it for anyone who wants a good small book to read that will constantly keep you interested. This book does live up to the expectaions that the others in the series provide as it always has you asking more questions. It will suck you in and you won't ever want to stop reading.

Cassa M.

GutsBy: Gary PaulsenNon-fiction 148 page Guts by Gary Paulsen is about how Gary Paulsen got his ideas for writing hatchet and the Brian books. Most of his ideas came from his own experiences through out his life. The different chapters talk about Gary Paulsen's fishing, hunting, different animal encounters he's had, and plane crashes he's been in. He's shares his memories and thoughts behind the Brian books. And how he got the ideas for the plane crash and moose attack in hatchet. I thinks it's amazing how many different things Gary Paulsen has done and all of the different things he's encountered. Some of the things he has done is really cool. I would recommend this book to people who have read hatchet or any of the Brian books and if they like to read about how authors are inspired to write their books. Guts was a very good book but at the end when it talked about how to cook to deer and birds it got boring because I didn't read the book to learn how to cook animals. But the rest of the book was good. I think it was cool how Gary Paulsen got the ideas for his books from real things that have happened to him thought out his life. Guts was a very good book.

Fred Merino

Guts by Gary Paulsen is about how he came to write the Brian books and Hatchet. It is about the experiences he had on his own. He says how he would love to hunt in the woods and would go there every weekend and just hunt. He would make his own bow and arrows and kill animals and cook them out in the wild with anything he could use. One struggle he has was when he was in the woods and he was very hungry because he could not kill that many animals. He learned to use every resource he could. For example it said how most people would throw away some organs of animals like the liver and other organs but he ate them because if he didn't he could have starved. I think the book was pretty good. I enjoyed reading about his experiences with everything and it made me think about what if those things ever happened to me and how I would react to that situation. I also like how the author used good description when describing a certain part and it made me feel as if I was going through the same thing as he was. I think that because these events actually happened and inspired him to write about them made it more interesting for me because I can read and non-fiction book and know that couldn't happen but when I was reading this it made me think that anything is possible in the right situation and attitude. People who like gory and kinda horror stories would like this book because there are a lot of situations with blood and dead people. It has really good description and a lot of imagery to take you to the place and it be like you are right there with him in the situation.

Aleksandr V

I picked this book because I had read Hatchet. I wanted to know where these experiences were from.The title of the book relates to the book in whats included in the book. The book talks about how to cook guts of animals, so it was a very good choice to call it that.The author wrote this book because he wanted to explain where Brain's experiences came from.The audience who would read this book would probably be anyone who read Hatchet.Facts: 1. Gary ate turtle eggs for research. I found it interesting because I would never do anything like that.2. Gary was part of a group of volunteers that answered emergency ambulance calls. That was interesting because I never knew something like that ever existed.3. Gary ran dog sled races. That was interesting because I remember seeing a movie about that. Iron Will for all those curious.The theme of this book is survival in dire conditions.My 3 reading strategies: 1. Using prior knowledge, I know how dog sled races work.2. Visualizing, I could visualize him eating the turtle eggs.3. Inferring, I could infer him getting into sticky situations during the race.I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to find out exactly how Hatchet became to be.


I have a teacher who Gary Paulsen reminds me of. He'll talk about how he was always out side as a child and hunting, fishing, and being well like Gary Paulsen


i thought this book was awwwwwwwwsome i first choose this book because i love gary paulsen and i love hachet. it is a autobiography about his life and what he did in his life which soon he truned into a book called hachet/brain song. the setting is is kinda everywhere first in forestes then up in moutains and kinda everywhere. the main chraracter is ofcrouse gary paulsen and this guy has been through sooooo much through his life he has seen people die and hes seen big animals and this guy has seen and just has been through soo much. the problems is just things that are thrown at him in life and the only way he really fixes it is being smart and just really keep moving forward. my opion is that this book teaches you alot and that it will shock ou soo much because like i said this guy has had one heck of a life and its pretty cool cause when your reading this book the things you read that he has went through you would like read that and go o yeah i remeber that from hachet or brain song or brains winter and its really cool and intersting and really fun to read.

Ethan Lambert

I picked this book because I am a fan of Gary Paulsen's books and wanted to know more about how his life related to that of Brian his main characterThe title of the book relates to Paulsen's adventures in the Canadian wilderness, and how they weave into his booksThe purpose of this book is to inform readers of Paulsen's life and how it intertwines with his booksThe target audience of this book was most likely fans of Paulsen's books3 facts from the book were 1) Paulsen has been attacked by a moose 2) skunks dig up turtle eggs and eat them 3) Paulsen has run the Iditirod twiceThe theme of the book was that having survival skills is important, because you never know when a situation may arise3 reading strategies I used were: 1)Use prior knowledge: I could relate events in Paulsen's life to those events in his books I had previously read 2)Monitor: every chapter I would go back and review the main topic of that chapter 3)Make inferences: At the beginning of each chapter I was able to infer what the main topic would be (ie. the chapter titled: eating eyeballs and guts or starving, I infered that I would be reading about some disgusting mealsI thought this book was great! Although I strongly recommend reading some of Paulsen's other work first

Eli Panagap.

i liked this book because it showed the life of an author wich to me this author had a very exciting life. another thing that was interesting was that this author wrote about how he used life experiences to write his book.

Junie K.

Guts: The True Stories behind Hatchet and the Brian Books by: Gary PaulsenNon-Fiction144 pagesGuts is an extremely adventurous story about where the ideas in his books came from. An example of an event that Gary Paulsen actually experienced himself and later wrote in the book Hatchet is when the pilot has a heart attack. Gary Paulsen didn't have a heart attack but when he was volunteering as an ambulance type thing when he got a call from a lady saying that her husband was having chest pains. It took him 15 minutes to get there and when he went in to check out what was going on and help try to help him the guy suddenly went stiff and drop to the floor and stared right into Gary Paulsen’s eyes then died. For some reason Gary Paulsen said the he had experienced many people who had died of heart attacks but he still clearly remembers this one. This is the reason why he put the part where the pilot suddenly has a jolt and goes stiff and dies on the plane in the book Hatchet. Gary Paulsen also raced the Iditarod in Alaska like in the book Dog song. He stated that moose where really scary and how he got attacked by them while in the race. Gary Paulsen had a very adventous life as well as a dangerous one. He was a writer but he also had many other accomplishments like racing the Iditarod, hunting, and eating and getting attacked by the weirdest things.I gave this book a three because unlike other nonfiction books this one was actually pretty good! I was really surprised because usually it takes me FOREVER to finish a nonfiction book. But this one it took me a day and I think the reason this book was actually good compared to most nonfiction books is that it was action packed. It didn't have a single moment in this book that wasn't filled with action. What I find really fascinating about Gary Paulsen's books is that they are all or most of them are things that Gary Paulsen has experienced. I think this makes the books more fun and real when he describes the parts. Overall I recommend this book to anybody who has read a Gary Paulsen book and has liked or a person who doesn't like nonfiction (like me) and needs a quick read that is still good.


I enjoyed “Guts” because it is more than just a book. The author, Gary Paulsen, really shows the reader how he writes his books. He explains his life and how he based his books off of his real life encounters with nature. He explains how in his other books “Hatchet” and the Brian Books he actually tied the stories to his real life. I like that the book is split up into chapters that are based on things that you have to do to survive in the great outdoors. Some of the topics are pretty interesting.The main character is the author, Gary Paulsen. He fits the part because it is his life story that he is telling through all of the books that he writes. As he is telling the stories behind the other books that he has written, he is telling the back story on it. At the same time he is explaining how he connects his own life to his books. The book is fairly well written in the aspect that it can't really take place anywhere else. If the book took place in the city, instead of in the woods outside a small town, it would be totally different. It would kind of change the whole story. Since it takes place in the outdoors, it makes the story sound more real. I also like it because the author is descriptive in the sense that if he shoots at something he describes what it sounds like and what he sees and hears around him. I would recommend the book “Guts” to anybody who likes the outdoors and likes to hunt and fish. It is also a survival book. It explains some of the things that a person would encounter or have to eat.


"there seems to be a river of rage just below the surface in moose that has no basis in logic, or at least any logic that i can see." this is a great sentence. and a great story that inspires this quote. montambo told me to read this, so i did. it is filling the "nonfiction" slot in my 10-work annotated bibliography assignment. this book is full of wonderful survival stories that illustrate the importance of staying out of the wilderness if you are unprepared for its hazards. this is my other favorite quote: ... soon the plane was filled with small white feathers and flying dogs and swear words and blood." i am not even going to explain that one to you, because it had me laughing out loud and i think its very important to read it for oneself. im still giggling a little. in closing, if you are leaving your house, i doint care if you are only going out for some juice, BRING MATCHES. seriously, do it.

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