Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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Written by Gary Paulsen 
Read by Peter Coyote 
Originally Published by Aladdin on January 1, 1987 
Ages: 10+, 208 pages 
Audio Review: 3 hours, 42 minutes 
Audio Edition: Published by Listening Library on April 27, 2004
Topics: Survival, Adventure

On a trip to visit his recently divorced father, thirteen year old Brian Robeson is the only survivor in the small single engine plane crash after the pilot has a heart attack. After the pilot dies, Brian steers the plane as best as he can and lands inside the Canadian wilderness. The only items he has for survival are his clothes and the newly bought hatchet from his mother. Brian faces many challenges as he braves the wildness alone to survive. In order to survive, Brain must stay physically and emotionally strong. He often has flashbacks about his parent’s recent divorce, which is painful because he feels he wouldn’t be in this situation if his parents were still together. Brian knows that if he is going to survive the wilderness then he needs to think positive. His personality changes as he becomes more patient and corrects previously made mistakes. Brian gains patience as he learns to closely watch and think before making any quick and reckless actions. He learns skills to fish, start a fire, build a shelter, and defend himself. Hatchet is the first book in the Brian Saga series. Gary Paulsen won a Newbery Honor Award for Hatchet.

I enjoyed listening to this audio version of Hatchet. Peter Coyote’s voice was clear and provided emotion during the reading. There was sometimes music and sound effects during suspenseful moments. Some readers may become disinterested, since Brian is the only character for most of the book and there is no real conversation. However, Hatchet kept my interest as Brian encountered challenges for survival.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    Michelle Isenhoff said:
    March 22, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I loved this one as a high school student. Always took to survival stories, and I remember this one being very well done.

      Caroline responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Yes, it was a very good survival story and staying strong. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    imakeeper said:
    March 22, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Ahhh I LOVED this book. I read it in elementary school and I totally had a secret crush on Brian because he survived so well and was brave. Such a well written book and I love the fact that it was a boy, not a man, that survived.

    Great review!

      Caroline responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      A secret crush huh. 🙂 That’s cute! Brian was very brave to have the will power to survive. Thanks for stopping by.

    babyjill7...Marilyn Griffin said:
    March 22, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Think I’ll try reading this one…sounds really suspenseful as you say..which I like! Thanks for review…~mkg

      Caroline responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      It has good suspense for a survival story! Thanks for your comment.

    Grace said:
    March 22, 2012 at 7:31 am

    I enjoyed this one as a kid, although I haven’t read it in many years.

      Caroline responded:
      March 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      I thought it was worth the Newbery Honor Medal. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    kole.kaiser said:
    April 29, 2014 at 7:28 am

    OMG. this book is so good i feel it should win a Newbeary honor again!

      Caroline responded:
      May 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      It was a great adventure book.

    hailey reinsvold said:
    April 29, 2014 at 7:29 am

    This was a good book it taught you a lot of survival but in my ophinion the person you did themovie should have read it better.

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