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


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.

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.


Billed as “the true stories behind 'Hatchet' and the Brian books”, this breezy book by Gary Paulsen is guaranteed to freak and gross you out. You’ll think twice about venturing unprepared out in the wilderness – just in case you have that in mind – when he recounts many of the following: beating beaten by a moose, the death of a young child at the hands (hooves?) of a fawn (yes, I know that sounds unbelievable), being near-on eaten alive by a swarm of mosquitoes (and here I thought wasps or bees were bad), and even eating the rotten insides of an partially-developed baby-duckling egg. Before puking and having a pet dog eat that same puke up. (Are you feeling queezy yet?) You’ll also come away, as I did, with a new-found appreciation of the ordinary chickadee -- who, in Paulsen’s estimation, is the wolf of the bird world come the harshest of winters. (Hearty little buggers, aren’t they?) By book’s end, you’ll come to admit that fact is indeed stranger than fiction.


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.

Casey Bowman

THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK My thoughts on the book are that is wasn't really a book for me. I thought this because I don't like to read books that talk about other peoples lives. The way he did things really didn't appeal to me. They didn't appeal to me because the way he does stuff wouldn't have been my first choice. I would have come more prepared for the voyage than to not have anything at all.SETTING The story took place while Gary Paulsen was sitting at home trying to think of something to write. He then remembered the story of when Brian was in that terrible plane accident. He began to write and came up with the book Hatchet. Hatchet is about a boy named Brian who is headed to the Canadian Oil Fields on this small cargo plane. He is on the way when the pilot has a heart attack. So that now puts Brian in charge of flying the plane to the Canadian Oil Fields. The story of the pilot having a heart attack reminded Paulsen about the time when he got called out to go help this man that had started freaking out and by the time he got there the man had died because of a heart failure.CONFLICTThe conflict that Brian and Gary had were they were both dealing with someone having a heart attack and they are not used to having to do something like this. It made both ofthem just stop and think about what they were doing instead of panicing and just settle down to let there mind catch up with what they are doing.CHARACTERIZATIONGary and Brian are static characters because they both remain the same through the whole entire book.1.Brian and Gary are both curious2.Both willing to help when needed3.Both are helpful in times of grief


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.


I like to know the "preface" to the books I read by authors. Guts is the perfect book to compliment the Brian Robeson series for this exact reason. I don't know if reading Guts before or after makes a difference; I read the book after reading three of the four in the Brian series. Guts makes the Brian series even more real and more amazing. While the Brian series is all fiction, Guts explains that what happens in the books are based on fact and real tried and true fact. That is a really awesome, I think. Guts is just as fun and enjoyable as the other books Gary has written. Definitely a recommendation to read if the reader has enjoyed the Brian series.

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.

Edy Gies

The four star rating related more to the enthusiasm with which I will recommend this to students. My own interest level was low, not because of the writing (it is fabulous), but because I'm the least likely person to enjoy wilderness survival. I could feel my gag reflex kicking in when I was reading the chapter on eating all parts of the animal. :-[ I would recommend this as a book for anyone who is looking for an informational read and is the outdoor adventurer type or to anyone enjoyed the Brian books. it is always cool when a reader has the opportunity to get in the mind of the author.


GARY PAULSEN & NONFICTION/ INFORMATIONALGuts is a book that explains the background and authorial content that led to and was involved in the writing of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. This book goes through Paulsen's adventures throughout his life while hunting. As a child, his parents were poor so Paulsen would hunt small game to sell for school supplies. He loved to hunt and be one with nature. Paulsen began to learn how to use a bow instead of a gun to make hunting a less obtrusive on nature. He also shared a few key experiences that greatly influenced specific scenes in Hatchet. Most of Brian's experiences in Hatchet were based off Paulsen's personal experiences, so he knows that everything Brian did could actually be done. Personally, I did not love the narrative of this book, but I loved the personal and specific experiences he shared. Through this, I could tell that Paulsen really knows how to pull a reader into a story. They were the gems in the novel for me. I would recommend this novel for boys who have read Hatchet or are really interested in hunting.


"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.


Summary: This is a biography by Gary Paulsen where he shares information about his life experiences, comedic anecdotes that relates to the stories he has written, and events that provided inspiration for many of his stories. The author perhaps most famous for the story Hatchet gives the reader insight into his life experiences and how they have resulted in the works that he has provided us with. Genre: Junior BiographicalCritique:(a) The book is provides accuracy in that he relays to the reader how his own personal experiences provided the basis for the characters in his books. The horrible things that Brian experiences in Hatchet were things that Paulsen himself experienced. All of these accounts provide an inside look into how the writings of Paulsen developed over time. (b) The strongest elements of the book were the ability of Paulsen to relate his personal experiences to that of his characters as well as his ability to provide humor that also related to the stories and provided entertainment for the reader. The only negative aspect of this book is perhaps its graphic details, which could be off putting to many younger readers.(c) Comedy is apparent in the book in a chapter that is titled “Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition.” You never know what you might have to eat to prevent starvation, and the author lets you know in very explicit detail. Curriculum Connection:This book would be a great tool for a literary unit about biographies or even as an introduction to literary units that include his books.


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.

Erin Phillips

Junior Book LogBiography #2 (Accidently read two!)Source: TextbookThe biography of writer Gary Paulsen. He discusses his life prior to becoming a writer, including seeing many unfortunate events, including an almost death account with a large wilderness animal, and describes how he uses his life experiences in his stories, particularly Hatchet and The Brian Books. Some are the stories are truly tragic and include stories of multiple life threatening situations. He even provides advice on learning to survive in the wilderness as he did. This would be an interesting choice for students who had read one of Paulsen’s books, in order to understand the origin of the story. An integrated activity could be to have students think of an event in their lives and write a short story revolving around it, using different characters. I wouldn’t recommend this book for grades too young, possibly 5th and older, just because it does go into detail about the tragic incidents and deaths.

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