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

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.

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.


"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.

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.


‘Guts’ by Gary Paulsen was a considerable novel. I really liked the overall story line as well as the action packed, real life situations Gary Paulsen experienced. The book was based of a similar, well know, novel ‘Hatchet’, which Gary Paulsen wrote 15 years before publishing ‘Guts’. During the book, Paulsen describes his near-death experiences in the wilderness chapter-to-chapter making the reader feel as if they where standing right their, with him. Each chapter is based of real life events which where published in his bestseller ‘Hatchet’, but from the perspective of the main character Brain Robeson, a 13 year-old boy. One reason I really liked this book, was because of the action. Normally when you see a biography it doesn’t seem very interesting, but Gary Paulsen did an outstanding job. The book starts with a chapter called, “Heart Attacks, Plane Crashes, and Flying”. It starts by describing Gary Paulsen’s life before he was fortunate enough to become a successful writer. He lived with his wife in a small prairie town in the middle of farm country, and with so much down time, Paulsen volunteered as a medic with only a small ambulance, which was donated by the city. Gary Paulsen, being the only service available for thousands of square miles, had to witness many deaths mostly form heart attacks. And sadly, Paulsen was the only hope except for the city helicopter, which sometimes took hours to arrive. This book was a great read, and I recommend it for someone who’s looking for an easy quick-read. If theirs one thing I learned from Gary Paulsen’s life, it was that well….it took guts.


GutsBy Gary Paulsen148 pagesNonfiction/Autobiography Gary Paulsen wrote a nice book about his life and what he did that relates him to Brian, the character in Hatchet. He actually had a very adventurous life, and in this book, he explained every detail about what happened to his life that led him to writing the book Hatchet. In Guts, he had to go through lots of scary, near-death moments while living in the forest and Alaska. They were very interesting too. He also shared a lot about hunting and food from forests and the wild. This book was a classic book about Gary Paulsen. I thought this book shared a lot about his other book, Hatchet. He seemed to have many similarities to the main character. It was quite surprising. Not only that, I never expected him to live an adventurous life as a writer. There were lots of ups and downs about his life in this book. In the end, it seems that Gary Paulsen wrote this book to answer his fan’s questions, and nothing else really. That is why I gave this book a 2/5.


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 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.


I heard about this book when the school librarian, Mrs. Peters came in and told the class about it also I have read many other of his books.The title's significance is that during the book the author, Gary Paulson tells about all the times he has been in survival situations and has had to kill and eat an animal sometimes eating the guts as well as the meat.The purpose of the book is to inform you of all the things that can be ate or used in a survival situation, all things occurring naturally in the wilderness, and what Gary has experienced in his life.The audience would be a fan of Gary Paulson's Brian series or a fan of him in general, or someone interested in how you can survive in the wilderness.One fact being that I learned when you don't have a pot to cook in you can weave one out of bark. Another one being that while writing his hatchet book, Gary Paulsen tested everything he said Bryan did to survive to keep his information accurate. The third thing that I learned is that Gary has been attacked by a moose like Bryan in his books was.I think that Gary Paulsen is trying to show that you can eat almost everything in the wilderness and that it is really easy to stay alive out there.I used the use prior knowledge reading stategy when he talked about shooting with a longbow and how aim was built up over time. Also I used the connect reading stategy when he was talking about cleaning a deer for the first time. I used the visualize stategy to picture when he went off after the moose that attacked his sled dogs.I found the book to be an interesting quick read. I liked how he covered so many topics and you got more all around information.

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.

Zach Costello

"Guts" is an autobiography by Gary Paulsen. He talks about experieces he had in his childhood through his adult years. When he was young he made his own bow and went out hunting for days just like Brian did in "Hatchet." He then took those experiences and wrote "Hatchet" and the Brian series. This book is for anyone who wants to learn more about Gary Paulsen and the story behind the Hatchet series.


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.


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 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.

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

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