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 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.

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.


GUTS My book review is GUTS, by Gary Paulson. The story was the thought behind all of the Brian books like Hatchet, Brian’s Winter, Brian’s Hunt, The River. There was only one main character and it was Gary Paulson. In the story there was no real plot it was a mix up of all different things he did in his life. “I went many nights hungry” This book is an autobiography. Personally I like this book because I like to read about survival out in the wilderness, and I also like all of the stories Gary Paulson writes. If I could change one thing about this story I would change all of the side stories he goes off on I would rather him stay on one topic. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read Gary Paulson because this is a book that really sums up all of what his stories are based off of. Also by reading this book you can get a better understanding of who Gary Paulson really is not by reading some of his other books.

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 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

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.


"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.


‘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.

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

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Logan Erdmann

After reading this book, I realized where Mr. Paulsen got most of the information for his main books like “Hatchet”. I enjoyed reading about Gary Paulsen’s life and it is something I can relate to. I thought that his attempt to eat the raw turtle eggs was rather disgusting. I can't imagine what other kinds of food he has tried. He was very brave to run the Iditarod with his dogs in the blizzard. Mr.Paulsen also experienced a plane losing an engine in flight. That had to be very frightening. The book is an autobiography and is told by Mr. Paulsen’s point of view. The main character is Mr. Paulsen. This allows you to see the events through the eyes of Mr.Paulsen. The setting mainly takes place in the north woods of Canada. This is where Mr.Paulsen grew up and the woods shaped him into the man he is today.There are also accounts of his Alaskan adventures. Most of the events in Alaska take place because of the dog runs Mr.Paulsen competes in.The main theme is survival. Gary tells countless stories of how he battled the elements of the wilderness. For instance, he would go and live of the land for weeks at a time with no outside contact. Most of what he accomplished, is done on his own. He has had to deal with rampaging moose and bear attacks. I am shocked that he is still alive.I would recommend this book to people of any age. I would also suggest that they should be interested in the outdoors and survival.

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