The Teen Reviewer

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: 4/5 STARS

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** Spoiler Alert ** This book has been highly praised for many years therefore winning a newberry honor award, one that Gary Paulsen now has three of. My former teacher recommended it to my class and I so I felt it was a good read. First and foremost, I was indeed satasfied with what I read. I felt that it deserved that award and was overall a good read. But some flaws did prevent me from giving this novel all five stars.

This book is about thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson who is still recovering from the news of his parents divorce. He holds the Secret, the reason beneath the divorce but his father does not know of this nor does anyone know that Brian posses such information. The novel begins telling us of his mother's gift: a hatchet, making a reference to the title. Later, does the reader know the importance of the hatchet. While on a plane ride to his father's house, the pilot has a heart attack and shortly the plane and Brain goes down. Now, he is stuck completley alone in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet and the clothes on his back to work with. Surviving is harder than it seems. It is in reality, nothing like the countless television shows and/or movies about them. Brian, you must remember, is not a man but a child. However what he faces and what he survives makes him more of a man than most of the population.

I, being a female, do not know much about manhood and the transaction from a boy to man. It is much more the number, but a change of mind. A change into a new person perhaps seeing the world in a new and wiser perspective. Brian is remarkable to do that in such a period of time.

The flaws in this book was that in my opinion, I believe most thirteen-year-old boys are far from mature to make such desicions. But then again, Brian does change mentaly and physicaly, but for the better? It is up to you, the reader, to decide if the change is for the better. The one aspect that bothered me the most was that how the author, Gary Paulson, skipped roughly about 30 days from the last and gave no warning. The only way to know what happened was through Brian's memories.

I have read past reviews. Some are postive while others are negative. But they pin point different things in the book that lead to the final desicion. In my perspective, this book is positive but in someonelse's, it may be the worst book ever read. Many, I have noticed, have commented that this book is boring. This may be the result of skipping pages. Some pages seem frivilous but when I reread the book I realize that every page made the book better and more realistic.

In conclusion, this story is by far the best survival story I have ever encountered. I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for something to pass the time with. It was well written and gives the reader something to think about. The moral learned is extremly important. Always appreciate what you have. When you go into the grocery store and you see the wide variety of food it is for your usage. But in the wilderness, food is by far the hardest thing to achieve. This book can help others learn what is important in life. Secrets will be everywhere but do they make up a good life?

Appreciate what you have because tomorrow, it might not be there.


"On a trip to visit his father, 13-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.  With only the clothes on his back and a hatchet he received as parting gift from his mother, Brian begins to shape a life for himself in the wild.  This splendid coming-of-age story has sold more than two million copies.  A winner." -- Kirkus Reviews, pointered review