Hatchet

ISBN: 0330439731
ISBN 13: 9780330439732
By: Gary Paulsen

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Genres

Adventure Childrens Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Survival To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

The thrilling sequel to HATCHET, the ultimate survival story. Two years earlier Brian had been stranded alone in the Canadian wilderness for fifty-four days with nothing but a hatchet. Somehow, he had survived. Now he can hardly believe it. He has been asked to return to the wilds, so that others can learn his skills. Only this time he won't be alone. This time he will be in control. But plans have a way of going wrong...

Reader's Thoughts

David

So when I added this, I vaguely recalled the title, and I swear, I have definitely read it, but what I thought it was about was a boy being stuck under the snow following an avalanche (it turns out the book I was thinking of is apty named Avalanche by Arthur Roth) but anyway, that's not what it is about, and I really don't remember this book at all.Hatchet I definitely read in middle school at the instruction of my librarian (we had a sort of once-weekly class in the library to introduce us to the already anachronistic card catalog, and maybe to encourage us to read). It strikes me now as one of those "boy books" and was sort of offered to me as an alternative to Babysitters' Club or Nancy Drew, maybe. It's strange now, because it undervalues literature very much to say that some is suited to boys, and others to girls (which is to say nothing of our society's pathetic need to classify and categorize). Based on my vague and unreliable memory (and the description gleaned from amazon), here are the reasons why you should have your son, nephew, homeless male orphan read Hatchet:1) It is the story about a boy named Brian. Brian is a great boy name (maybe you've considered it for your tot?), and everything he does (probably) exudes the same brand of outdoorsy masculinity that you want your little Timmy, Tommy or Teddy to adopt as an adolescent and adult.2) It takes place outside. What better way to encourage kids to go outside than to have them sit inside and read a book about a boy who is outside?3) There is a hatchet, presumably. Whether little Johnny has that lumberjack vibe, or that investment banker gone Sarsgaard-murder-house vibe, certainly it will be important to introduce them to the concept of the hatchet. A very useful tool that almost no one uses, as far as I know.4) The plot evidently features a plane crash, wherein Brian must be the lone survivor. Very likely to happen. Also, surely all the characters in this book are male, what better way to introduce your young one to a realistic view of the world than to immerse them in world dominated completely by a young boy and some owls, or something. (also see: Lord of the Flies)5. This 20th anniversary edition features a great commentary by the author, Gary Paulson. Even though your little brat probably won't read this (why would he?), it will give his ego the small boost for the illusion of having read a book a little longer than he actually did).6. This is the first installation of a SAGA. For one, "saga" is reminiscent to me of the Nordic mythos, which seems to be the most supporting of the idealized male image. It also means there are multiple volumes following our intrepid Brian. What more could you want? Why invest in Boy Scouts when you could drop a pile of Brian books in your kid's lap and turn him into a man, while saving all that time and money?Get it! So good!

karen

yes yes yes!! thank you to all the goodreaders who recommended this to me after my love for island of the blue dolphins became known. it turns out i love survival stories!! with teens!! and i wish i could say i never tore my eyes from the page and read this in an hour, but i have been having a distractedish day today; emailing my dad for fathers day (everyone: call your dads!! or if they are at work, email-chat them!) and then there was a fire across the street from me (which is my number one all time fear) and the people in the building are so casual about it - there are two fire trucks in the street, and firefighters swarming everywhere, and i look in the windows and in two different apartments, there are people just sitting and watching and smoking cigarettes. what is wrong with them?? dont they care that their building is on fire?? dont they feel the fear i feel?? did they light their cigarettes from their blazing belongings and treasures?? i dont understand their stoicism in the face of fire. but you know who loves fire?? brian. he uses it to survive in the wilderness. seamless segue back into the review. its great. i could read 400 more pages of this story. and despite my own fears of the fire leaping across the street to consume me and my beloved books, i could still engage in his plight: when he d the h in the w (clever code prevents spoilers) - i actually gasped out loud. and there were several times when he overcame a particular setback that i smiled. i totally cared about this character. i would love more survivaly stories, if anyones got 'em.

Max Stone

(fwiw this is a book I read my kids aged 6-10)I'd give this book 3.5 stars if I could. Basically the stuff which makes it a classic and is indeed very good is the adventure/survival stuff (he is the sole survivor of a plane crash deep in the woods and has nothing but a hatchet). Both the details of what he is doing to survive, and the psychological changes he goes through in his attempt to survive are believable, interesting, and illuminating.There is a second thread in the book which is him processing his parents' divorce and in particular "the secret" which is that even before the divorce he saw his mother kissing some other guy. I wanted to retch every time this stuff came up. I found it much less believable and also generally an intrusion into the main story. I tried to think of some deep connection between the divorce / "the secret" and his survival which enabled readers to make connections and learn things about one or the other that they otherwise would not have been able to, but I really couldn't. Survival part gets 4.5 stars; his relationship with his parents gets 1.5 stars (my overall is 3.5 because the survival stuff is dominant).

Melissa Wehunt

I probably should have read this years ago, but it is (literally) checked out whenever I go to find myself a copy. I finally got my eaudiobook...I was so excited...afterall, teachers assign this book ALL THE TIME! And kids/teens seem to love it. So... my expectations may have been a tad high. With that in mind, here are my pros/cons:Pros-1. Survival Story...that's always fun and interesting2. Would make a great (and easy) discussion book...which is probably why teachers love it3. Book that works for boys Cons-1. The stuff about divorce and his cheating mother. I don't know, it bugged me. I get why it's in there...that Brian needs to work through it and think before he acts and all the super obvious lessons that Paulsen beats over our heads...but it felt obvious and out of place to me. I would have like it more if it had been worked into the story better...like maybe revealing the 'secret' as he was dealing with survival. 2. The things that make it a good discussion book...All the obvious lessons! This isn't really fair to complain about. It's not Paulsen's fault I'm a full grown adult reading a kids book. But I am, and I found it tiresome and a bit eye-rolly. Is that a word? ;) 3. The reader. Couldn't stand him. And the quality of the recording was weird. So, about 2/3 of the way through (I had a copy sitting at the ref desk waiting for a teen to pick it up), I read the rest of it. Much better.

Steve Vernon

A few years ago my stepson Connor asked for a copy of this book for Christmas. I hunted it up in a bookstore and decided to give it a read before wrapping it up. Then I had to go back to the bookstore and by another copy because there was no way I was going to let this one get off my book shelf.Hatchet is my all-time favorite YA novel. I admire the precision and no-words-wasted approach that Paulsen demonstrates with his prose. He cuts right to the bone and steps the action up fast.The story is a simple one. The young protagonist is lost in the north woods with nothing but a hatchet to survive with. It is a good old-fashioned yarn that will entertain and enlighten both young and old alike. I don't have enough thumbs to give this book all of the thumbs up it truly deserves. Hunt up a copy for any kid on your gift-buying list and make sure you buy a copy for yourself.Yours in storytelling,Steve Vernon

John

When Brian's plane crash lands in the Canadian wilderness, Brian must learn to survive in the forest all by himself with only his clothes and a hatchet given to him by his mum...I wouldn't say this was the best book I've read but I wouldn't say it was one of the worst. This book gives you that feel that 'you're all alone in an unknown place with who knows what kind of dangers there may be'. And yes, it did make me a little scared. But despite the rather, in my opinion, boring ending of the book, it is nonetheless still a good book.

Becky

I.love.this.book.Seriously, I read this maybe in fourth grade? It was definitly in elementary school, because I remember it was at the same time that we we doing "survival skills"* in Girl Scouts. Not that I ever wanted to be trapped by myself in the wilderness, but I spent a lot of my time in my backyard pretending to find flint with my sister, and starting imaginary fires to keep warm. In winter we dug ourselves igloos. I always went camping with my parents, so this book started a lot of Q&A's with them about what to do if I get lost in the woods (Hint, No. 1 is STAY WHERE YOU ARE!). Any ways, its a great read for an elementary kid, and everyone should read it.* This was put in quotation marks because it was a total joke. I had been looking forward to these skills for quite some time, finally girl scouts was going to teach me what I wanted! Instead of knives they handed us popsicle sticks. For the love of God CUB SCOUTS get real knives. This was followed shortly on the heels of an outdoor cooking class where none of us were allowed near the fire. Basically we made banana boats, and then the instructor put the boats in and out of the coals for us. We learned how to build a fire with coals, not tinder. Agh. It was at this point that I decided Girl Scouts was NOT for me.

Khang ... Tran

In this amazing book hatchet, Brian is on a journey to his dads house. But first he has to go across the Canadian forest by plane. It was in the summer when Brian got a chance to visit his father, little did he know, the pilot had a heart attack during the flight. Brian was in shock when the pilot died right in front of him. Was this the last moment of Brian's life? This book is so good, its a thrill to read.I recommend this book to you young up and coming readers.This is a realistic fiction book.

Daniel Lowder

What I learned from Hatchet:1. If you see a man grimacing in pain, it could be a heart attack. If this man is the pilot of a charter prop plane that you're flying alone in, you could be fucked.2. If you eat mysterious berries, they just might give you severe diarrhea. And, having just been marooned in a plane crash, you could lack the proper facilities to expel the diarrhea within. So, you could end up shitting your brains out in a cave. Since the tender age of 9, when I glanced upon the pages of this book, I have had a fear in regards to shitting in the wild. Fuck you, Gary Paulsen.

Evan

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen was an amazing novel. Brian, a teenager who had no idea of what he was doing had to survive in the forest by himself without anything except for a hatchet and clothes! I did not enjoy that at the end of the book, Brian finally decides to go into the plane! He found, a survival kit with tools, food, and sleeping bags! Why did he not go into the plane in the first place?The theme of the book was very easy to figure out, never give up. Brian did not stop during his whole "journey" in the forest. He just kept on going and thinking positive. He was very close to giving up when he had failed to get food and when he ate the gut berries. In conclusion, Hatchet had few flaws, but was a great novel!

Ms. Foley

I love outdoor survival stories! If you liked this, you should try "Julie of the Wolves" or "Island of the Blue Dolphins."

Marshall Jones

Brian is on a journey across the Canadian forest, on a flight to visit his father. As Brian is on his way to the airport his mom had gave him a pocket hatchet for his trip. On the flight the pilot of the two seat plane started to feel a bit strange and having pains and letting off choking body odors. He was having a heart attack. The pilot had past out and Brian has to take over and steer the plane safley to the ground but insted he safley crashed the plane in the Canadian wilderness. He is now alone. He has nobody.From this point it is just a survival game for Brian, hunting for food and chopping trees for shelter and salvaging any materials from the the crashed plane to stay alive. Brian soon then encounters a big black bear but lucky for Brian he does not go near him. After weeks of staying alive in the wildness alone he manages to get rescued my a search party sent my his father.Hes alive.I really enjoyed reading this book it was very excited and interesting.i would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys ready very realistic books.

Eric_W

As many of you might know, I abhor the YA designation, believing it to be a form of segregation that simply makes it a target for the Comstockians of the world, witness recent calls for YA books to be more wholesome and less dark. That many so-called YA titles deal with issues that should be of concern to teens seems of little concern to those who want to prevent their sixteen-year-olds from reading about what they experience everyday. The YA designation, I suspect, has, in the past, steered many adult readers away from books so designated, not wanting to be seen as stooping below their level. (I use young adult and adult only in their chronological sense, certainly not from the standpoint of maturity level.)Our reading club decided to discuss a couple of books that had been enjoyed by some of our members from that standpoint. We chose two: Hatchet and Waiting to Forget (review to follow), each in its own way a survival novel, both in a wilderness, but one made of trees, the other of people. The differences are substantial with Waiting to Forget much more adult both in content and style. Hatchet is a great story for 10 year-olds (and young 60 year-olds) about a young boy (age thirteen) being sent to his father in Canada following a nasty divorce. The pilot of the single engined plane dies of a heart attack, and young Brian must find a way to stay alive in the wilderness (a remarkably non-hostile environment with the exception of a moose and tornado) with only a hatchet fortuitously given to him by his mother for survival. The book is told in third-person from Brian’s perspective so it’s hardly a spoiler to say young Brian, a very smart kid, indeed, survives by using his wits and, fortuitously, the hatchet given to him by his mother as a present before he left to visit his father.It's a good survival story although some of the elements like "the Secret" were peripheral and distracted from the story line. The Epilogue was totally unnecessary and redundant, I thought. The last line before it would have made a perfect ending. My understanding is that Paulson followed up with the success of Hatchet with a couple of sequels.As I read this enjoyable little book, I wondered if Paulson had become enamored of Tom Brown who achieved some fame as being a great “tracker” and wilderness expert. Raised in the Jersey Pine Barrens, he was ostensibly the grandson of an Apache named “Stalking Wolf.”(I'm not kidding.) Brown wrote several pieces on wilderness survival for Mother Jones in the eighties. I remember several nature types on the faculty asking me to order his books many years ago, although the luster seemed to tarnish some when it was learned Brown was fond of smoking.Looking up Tom Brown for this review I discovered he has capitalized on his knowledge. http://www.trackertrail.com/tombrown/...Tom Brown books: Tom Brown's Field guide to wilderness survival and Tracker and Tom Brown's Field Guide To Living With The Earth

Keely

Gary Paulsen writes in only two emotions: fine and vomit-y. Someone may want to tell him that there are other ways to provoke a response in a reader than going right for the gut, so to speak. This book could have done with some fear and suspense, perhaps some gratification, depression, or joy. I do not mind a tragedy, nor do I balk at watching the man beaten down. I am a fan of Chekhov's. If your idea of suspense is mosquito bites on your nipples, meet your Stephen King.

Nichole Sedler

Written by Gary Paulsen, published by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 1987.Summary: A story about a young boy whose family is torn apart by divorce. He travels on a prop plane to see his dad in Canada but during the flight, the pilot suffers a heart attack and dies. Brian crashes the plane into a lake and amazingly survives the crash. The novel follows his transformation through surviving 54 days in the wilderness before he is rescued. Response: I loved this story. I think intermediate elementary students would be captured by the realistic, dramatic turn of events and by the unlikely hero of Brian. Possible Units: I think this would be a great book for Lit Circles or even to read as a class. There is so much you could do with this book. Language Arts, Character Education, Cause and Effect lessons, etc.

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