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4/5 (429 ratings)
173 pages
3 hours
Aug 25, 2009


From Scribd: About the Book

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is traveling to visit his father, when the single-engine plane that he is being chartered in crashes. He survives the crash, but the pilot does not, and he now finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness. The plane, having crashed into a lake and sunk, leaves him with a very short list of items: a tattered windbreaker, the hatchet his mother gave him before he departed, and a dreadful secret about his parent's divorce that weighs heavily on his mind.

But the wilderness surrounds Brian and he has no time for anger, no time for self pity, and against all odds, no time for despair. He must rack his brain for all the information he can remember about survival, muster his determination, and seek more courage than he ever believed he had to survive.

This award-winning page-turner is filled with adventure and high-anxiety scenes, leading the reader to wonder: Will Brian make it out alive?
Aug 25, 2009

About the author

Gary Paulsen has received great acclaim and many awards for his novels written for young people. Hatchet, and its sequel, The Return, are among his best-known works. He is also the author of How To Train Your Dad. He lives with his family in New Mexico, USA.

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Hatchet - Gary Paulsen



Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406—a bushplane—and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.

Not that he had much to say. He was thirteen and the only passenger on the plane was a pilot named—what was it? Jim or Jake or something—who was in his mid-forties and who had been silent as he worked to prepare for take-off. In fact since Brian had come to the small airport in Hampton, New York to meet the plane—driven by his mother—the pilot had only spoken five words to him.

Get in the copilot’s seat.

Which Brian had done. They had taken off and that was the last of the conversation. There had been the initial excitement, of course. He had never flown in a single-engine plane before and to be sitting in the copilot’s seat with all the controls right there in front of him, all the instruments in his face as the plane clawed for altitude, jerking and sliding on the wind currents as the pilot took off, had been interesting and exciting. But in five minutes they had leveled off at six thousand feet and headed northwest and from then on the pilot had been silent, staring out the front, and the drone of the engine had been all that was left. The drone and the sea of green trees that lay before the plane’s nose and flowed to the horizon, spread with lakes, swamps, and wandering streams and rivers.

Now Brian sat, looking out the window with the roar thundering through his ears, and tried to catalog what had led up to his taking this flight.

The thinking started.

Always it started with a single word.


It was an ugly word, he thought. A tearing, ugly word that meant fights and yelling, lawyers—God, he thought, how he hated lawyers who sat with their comfortable smiles and tried to explain to him in legal terms how all that he lived in was coming apart—and the breaking and shattering of all the solid things. His home, his life—all the solid things. Divorce. A breaking word, an ugly breaking word.



No, not secrets so much as just the Secret. What he knew and had not told anybody, what he knew about his mother that had caused the divorce, what he knew, what he knew—the Secret.


The Secret.

Brian felt his eyes beginning to burn and knew there would be tears. He had cried for a time, but that was gone now. He didn’t cry now. Instead his eyes burned and tears came, the seeping tears that burned, but he didn’t cry. He wiped his eyes with a finger and looked at the pilot out of the corner of his eye to make sure he hadn’t noticed the burning and tears.

The pilot sat large, his hands lightly on the wheel, feet on the rudder pedals. He seemed more a machine than a man, an extension of the plane. On the dashboard in front of him Brian saw the dials, switches, meters, knobs, levers, cranks, lights, handles that were wiggling and flickering, all indicating nothing that he understood and the pilot seemed the same way. Part of the plane, not human.

When he saw Brian look at him, the pilot seemed to open up a bit and he smiled. Ever fly in the copilot’s seat before? He leaned over and lifted the headset off his right ear and put it on his temple, yelling to overcome the sound of the engine.

Brian shook his head. He had never been in any kind of plane, never seen the cockpit of a plane except in films or television. It was loud and confusing. First time.

It’s not as complicated as it looks. Good plane like this almost flies itself. The pilot shrugged. Makes my job easy. He took Brian’s left arm. Here, put your hands on the controls, your feet in the rudder pedals, and I’ll show you what I mean.

Brian shook his head. I’d better not.

Sure. Try it . . .

Brian reached out and took the wheel in a grip so tight his knuckles were white. He pushed his feet down on the pedals. The plane slewed suddenly to the right.

Not so hard. Take her light, take her light.

Brian eased off, relaxed his grip. The burning in his eyes was forgotten momentarily as the vibration of the plane came through the wheel and the pedals. It seemed almost alive.

See? The pilot let go of his wheel, raised his hands in the air and took his feet off the pedals to show Brian he was actually flying the plane alone. Simple. Now turn the wheel a little to the right and push on the right rudder pedal a small amount.

Brian turned the wheel slightly and the plane immediately banked to the right, and when he pressed on the right rudder pedal the nose slid across the horizon to the right. He left off on the pressure and straightened the wheel and the plane righted itself.

Now you can turn. Bring her back to the left a little.

Brian turned the wheel left, pushed on the left pedal, and the plane came back around. It’s easy. He smiled. At least this part.

The pilot nodded. All of flying is easy. Just takes learning. Like everything else. Like everything else. He took the controls back, then reached up and rubbed his left shoulder. Aches and pains—must be getting old.

Brian let go of the controls and moved his feet away from the pedals as the pilot put his hands on the wheel. Thank you . . .

But the pilot had put his headset back on and the gratitude was lost in the engine noise and things went back to Brian looking out the window at the ocean of trees and lakes. The burning eyes did not come back, but memories did, came flooding in. The words. Always the words.


The Secret.



The big split. Brian’s father did not understand as Brian did, knew only that Brian’s mother wanted to break the marriage apart. The split had come and then the divorce, all so fast, and the court had left him with his mother except for the summers and what the judge called visitation rights. So formal. Brian hated judges as he hated lawyers. Judges that leaned over the bench and asked Brian if he understood where he was to live and why. Judges with the caring look that meant nothing as lawyers said legal phrases that meant nothing.

In the summer Brian would live with his father. In the school year with his mother. That’s what the judge said after looking at papers on his desk and listening to the lawyers talk. Talk. Words.

Now the plane lurched slightly to the right and Brian looked at the pilot. He was rubbing his shoulder again and there was the sudden smell of body gas in the plane. Brian turned back to avoid embarrassing the pilot, who was obviously in some discomfort. Must have stomach troubles.

So this summer, this first summer when he was allowed to have visitation rights with his father, with the divorce only one month old, Brian was heading north. His father was a mechanical engineer who had designed or invented a new drill bit for oil drilling, a self-cleaning, self-sharpening bit. He was working in the oil fields of Canada, up on the tree line where the tundra started and the forests ended. Brian was riding up from New York with some drilling equipment—it was lashed down in the rear of the plane next to a fabric bag the pilot had called a survival pack, which had emergency supplies in case they had to make an emergency landing—that had to be specially made in the city, riding in the bushplane with the pilot named Jim or Jake or something who had turned out to be an all right guy, letting him fly and all.

Except for the smell. Now there was a constant odor, and Brian took another look at the pilot, found him rubbing the shoulder and down the arm now, the left arm, letting go more gas and wincing. Probably something he ate, Brian thought.

His mother had driven him from the city to meet the plane at Hampton where it came to pick up the drilling equipment. A drive in silence, a long drive in silence. Two and a half hours of sitting in the car, staring out the window of the plane. Once, after an hour, when they were out of the city she turned to him.

Look, can’t we talk this over? Can’t we talk this out? Can’t you tell me what’s bothering you?

And there were the words again. Divorce. Split. The Secret. How could he tell her what he knew? So he had remained silent, shook his head and continued to stare unseeing at the countryside, and his mother had gone back to driving only to speak to him one more time when they were close to Hampton.

She reached over the back of the seat and brought up a paper sack. I got something for you, for the trip.

Brian took the sack and opened the top. Inside there was a hatchet, the kind with a steel handle and a rubber handgrip. The head was in a stout leather case that had a brass—riveted belt loop.

It goes on your belt. His mother spoke now without looking at him. There were some farm trucks on the roads now and she had to weave through them and watch traffic. The man at the store said you could use it. You know. In the woods with your father.

Dad, he thought. Not my father. My dad. Thanks. It’s really nice. But the words sounded hollow, even to Brian.

Try it on. See how it looks on your belt.

And he would normally have said no, would normally have said no that it looked too hokey to have a hatchet on your belt. Those were the normal things he would say. But her voice was thin, had a sound like something thin that would break if you touched it, and he felt bad for not speaking to her. Knowing what he knew, even with the anger, the hot white hate of his anger at her, he still felt bad for not speaking to her, and so to humor her he loosened his belt and pulled the right side out and put the hatchet on and rethreaded the belt.

Scootch around so I can see.

He moved around in the seat, feeling only slightly ridiculous.

She nodded. Just like a scout. My little scout. And there was the tenderness in her voice that she had when he was small, the tenderness that she had when he was small and sick, with a cold, and she put her hand on his forehead, and the burning came into his eyes again and he had turned away from her and looked out the window, forgotten the hatchet on his belt and so arrived at the plane with the hatchet still on his belt.

Because it was a bush flight from a small airport there had been no security and the plane had been waiting, with the engine running when he arrived and he had grabbed his suitcase and pack bag and run for the plane without stopping to remove the hatchet.

So it was still on his belt. At first he had been embarrassed but the pilot had said nothing about it and Brian forgot it as they took off and began flying.

More smell now. Bad. Brian turned again to glance at the pilot who had both hands on his stomach and was grimacing in pain, reaching for the left shoulder again as Brian watched.

Don’t know, kid . . . The pilot’s words were a hiss, barely audible. Bad aches here. Bad aches. Thought it was something I ate but . . .

He stopped as a fresh spasm of pain hit him. Even Brian could see how bad it was—the pain drove the pilot back into the seat, back and down.

I’ve never had anything like this . . .

The pilot reached for the switch on his mike cord, his hand coming up in a small arc from his stomach, and he flipped the switch and said, This is flight four six . . .

And now a jolt took him like a hammerblow, so forcefully that he seemed to crush back into the seat, and Brian reached for him, could not understand at first what it was, could not know.

And then he knew.

Brian knew. The pilot’s mouth went rigid, he swore and jerked a short series of slams into the seat, holding his shoulder now. Swore and hissed, Chest! Oh God, my chest is coming apart!

Brian knew now.

The pilot was having a heart attack. Brian had been in the shopping mall with his mother when a man in front of Paisley’s store had suffered a heart attack. He had gone down and screamed about his chest. An old man. Much older than the pilot.

Brian knew.

The pilot was having a heart attack and even as the knowledge came to Brian he saw the pilot slam into the seat one more time, one more awful time he slammed back into the seat and his right leg jerked, pulling the plane to the side in a sudden twist and his head fell forward and spit came. Spit came from the corners of his mouth and his legs contracted up, up into the seat, and his eyes rolled back in his head until there was only white.

Only white for his eyes and the smell became worse, filled the cockpit, and all of it so fast, so incredibly fast that Brian’s mind

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What people think about Hatchet

429 ratings / 235 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Critic reviews

  • Hands down, this is a GREAT book. It is indented for youth, without a doubt, but even as an adult I really enjoyed reading this story (again). I have a grandson who has a thirst for adventure, and even though this book takes place many years ago, he still loved the story and now wants to go camping every weekend. The entire story is captivating, from the melodrama in the beginning to the plane crash, the struggle, the false safety, and everything between. You'll be turning page after page, curious to see how Brian overcomes the next obstacle or evades the next danger, how he finds food, and how he stays sane through the entire experience. The language in the book is certainly aimed more towards teens, but that does not make it any less enjoyable to read as an adult. If you read it as a kid, I'd recommend picking it up again when you have the chance.

    Scribd Editors
  • Although this book is not without its flaws, it is an extremely compelling story that will hook you from the start. Brian, our protagonist, pretty much has his life turned upside down in the passing of a few moments. All of the problems that he thought he had, drama with parents, etc., suddenly don't matter one bit. Now he has real problems, like plane crash problems. Equipped with a shredded windbreaker and a hatchet his mother gifted to him before his trip, Brian must face the Canadian wilderness. He also must face himself, because sometimes the hardest part of surviving is the mental struggle to persevere. Read in schools all over, I read this book when I was younger. Revisiting it as an adult was an interesting experience and helped me to remember, once again, that there are much larger problems than your cell phone battery dying.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to live with his father after his parent's divorce. The plane crashes, and he's left to his devices in the Canadian forest.When I first read this book, as a teen, much of the story felt overly familiar, which suggest things about my childhood I'm reluctant to revisit well into adulthood. One unique moment from the story that's stuck with me is when Brian meets a timber wolf, an animal unrecognizable from grim fairy tales of European wolves.
  • (5/5)
    Brian Robeson a normal teenage boy finds himself stranded in the Canada wilderness after the pilot of his bush plane suffers a heartache and dies while flying. Brian is forced to land the plane in the nearest source of water in order to survive. This begins his journey into several months of survival in the middle of nowhere. After many tough lessons on the laws of nature, Brian begins to accept the fact that he will never be rescued. He has become very good at creating things out of nothing and is learning how to hunt and fish. After a tornado strikes Brian discovers the tail of the plane, here he decides to create a raft to get the survival pack out of the plane. In the emergency kit he finds what he thinks is broken emergency transmitter, this then results in his rescue.
  • (4/5)
    hatchet is a wonderful book for young adults who need a good survival story. Brian, who is flying to canada to visit his father, gets lost in canadian woods and needs help. read to find out what happens!!
  • (4/5)
    It's a story about a tragedy of a plane crash and how a boys survives it and, in turn, gets stuck on an island where he has no one to rely on but himself. It's a relatively fine book, but I must say it was too melodramatic for me. The style of the author doesn't suit my taste. Other than that, the story's great.
  • (5/5)
    The Hatchet is a coming of age tale about a thirteen-year-old boy named Brian who goes to visit his father in the summer in Canada after his parent has recently divorce. His plane unfortunately then crashes and he is left alone with just a hatchet. I enjoyed this book so much! I love this book and read it again because I enjoyed it so much when I read it when I was younger. I love this book for so many reasons but I feel there are two main ones that make the book what it is. One of these reasons is how the author uses emotion to engage the reader. Throughout the whole book the author pulls you in by telling you about Brian’s journey sending you through emotional twists and turns. An example of this is when Brian plane is crashing and you don’t know what will happen, though you know it crashes you still are put through that emotional rollercoaster of what will happen to Brian and what will Brian do. This enhanced suspense made the book that much more interesting but this book didn’t just evoke one emotion. The reader feels pain and sadness for Brian. An example is seen when you find out why Brian parents truly divorced. Throughout the whole book the author has Brian flashback to the “Secret”, as the author calls it, the “Secret” of why his mother wanted a divorce. Later when you find out Brian saw his mother having an affair you really feel for Brian and can’t imagine how he must feel. Another way the author used the reader’s emotions to engage them in the story was by making the reader feel what Brian was feeling. An example is seen in the beginning of the book, Brian is pretty sure he will get rescued and after just three days or so a plane comes by. The reader is sure Brian will get rescued, this heightens your interest and makes you wonder what will happen in the rest of the book but Brian is not rescued and realizes he will never be. The reader also feels that bone crushing sadness and wonders how Brian will ever survive. The reader feels this emotion with him and throughout the whole book the reader feels as if they are in Brian’s “shoes” or are right there with Brian experiencing this too. This makes the reader that much more interested and connected to the story. These multiple emotions you feel throughout the book also make the book that much more engaging and it my opinion are one of the reason it is such a good book. The emotions just don’t make it engaging but the overall plot and organization of the story engages the reader. They way the story is written and organized in that there is always a new twist in each chapter it makes the reader not want to put it down. Something I feel the author did an amazing job at and really heightens the plot and story line. An example is when Brian realizes he can have fire from the hatchet. The reader wonders what he will do and it makes you want to read on. This contributed to the why the book is so good. I feel these two things together though helped to make the book what it is, along with other things and convey the meaning of the book which was survival and that though something is hard you will get through it.
  • (5/5)
    Hatchet is a perfect example of showing perserverance. Every page is exciting you could never get bored with it. Theres a story around every turn.
  • (5/5)
    This book is about a boy named Brian Robeson that gets stranded in the middle of the wilderness with nothing but the clothes he is wearing and the hatchet his mother gave him. It begins with Brian leaving his mother to spend the summer with his father in the wilderness and that the only thing that is going through his mind is the secret he has known for a while about his mother and another man. After leaving his mother in New York, Brian hits the sky with a pilot that ends up having a heart attack and then dies. Brian is then forced to take over for the captain. Brian is able to direct the plane into the lake to reduce the impact and to overall, save his life. He’s never been camping by himself, but after a while, Brian gets used to it. Brian learns how to have a lot of patience with things and to keep strong in situations.I enjoyed reading this book because it was very realistic and is a page turner. This would be a good mentor text for writing because it encourages lots of descriptive words.
  • (4/5)
    HatchetGary PaulsonHatchet is an exciting survival story about a 13 year old boy named Brian Robeson. In this book Brian is on his way to his fathers house in Northern Canada in a small bush plane when his pilot has a sudden heart attacked and dies. Brian tries to fly the plane, but instead he crash lands into a lake in the middle of the forrest. Brian must survive in the wilderness with his tattered windbreaker and his hatchet. Will he survive or will the wild get the best of him.
  • (4/5)
    A classic YA book. After a plane crash, Brian must survive the elements with only his wits and a hatchet. Great survival story.
  • (5/5)
    It is about a boy that is going to his dad. He is going on a plane and the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian has to fly the plane as long as he can. Read the book to find out what happens to Brian.
  • (3/5)
    After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian is lost and alone in the Canadian Wilderness, with only his clothing and a small axe to help his survive. The adventure part of this story is splendid, with disaster after disaster keeping Brian from comfortably awaiting rescue. The moment he realises that searchers won't be coming for him brings a new focus to his struggle for survival.The epilogue is disconcerting, it reads like the scrolling text in a film explaining what happens to various characters. I didn't see any note that the book is based on a true story, the epilogue makes it seem so.Also, the back story about the parent's divorce seemed a little overwrought to me, the back blurb led me to expect something much more dramatic about The Secret. I'd give this this readers looking for adventure stories, or survival stories.
  • (4/5)
    In my opion Hatchet is a very good book. It is very interesting, hard to put down, keeping you wanting to know what happens next. Some of the events that I liked in this book are when a skunk came into Brian's shelter and scared him while he was sleeping, when the storm came and when the bears came and ate some of his food. In this book Brian talks a lot about his parents getting a divorce and how it effects him. I can understand how he feels.
  • (3/5)
    This book is about a 13 year old boy, Brian, whose plane crashes in the middle of a lake near a forest. The only item he has is his hatchet. He learns to survive alone in the forest by learning how to create a fire and tools to catch food. He never gives up on himself, and in the end, he is rescued. This book is great for 6th grade.
  • (5/5)
    This was my favorite book as a kid. It's funny, what's hell to Brian sounded like fun to me. I wanted to make a bow and arrow, to know what turtle eggs tasted like and to experience what it would be like to live in the wilderness all by myself.
  • (5/5)
    This book really made me want to go to the canadian wilderness myself. It was one of the best books written by Gary Paulsen and I would recommend this book to anyone.
  • (4/5)
    This is a wonderful story of a young boy working to overcome great obstacles. Brian is a character that many students find it easy to relate with. Mr. Parks
  • (4/5)
    The excitement and adventure of a thirteen year-old boy (Brian) who has been stranded in the Canadian wilderness. While traveling on a single-engine plane to see his father, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. After a somewhat successful crash landing in the Canadian wilderness, Brian is forced to survive with nothing other than what he carried in his pockets when boarding the plane and the hatchet that remained attached to his belt. After many months in solitude, Brian conquers his fears of the wilderness and alters the paradigm that he has maintained throughout his life. No longer does Brian perceive the wilderness as untamed and wild but rather it is his home. The transformation that Brian undergoes prompts his self-knowledge and self-confidence to blossom, leading him to embrace his isolation.Readers witness his gut-wrenching sickness from eating too many berries and his shock when he realizes he has never before heard total silence. His failures and triumphs are also presented as equal parts of one life-altering experience. In the two months he spends in the wild, Brian undergoes countless emotional and physical changes. But Gary Paulsen keeps the reader at Brian's side as he discovers how strong he has always been. In the end, the book is a fascinating thrill that will keep readers mesmerized to the last page.
  • (5/5)
    Hatchet is an amazing story that every child should read! The author tells the story in a way that keeps the reader excited and engaged through out the whole novel. I loved this book when I was growing up. This book would definantly go on my list of best books I have ever read. I would defiantly read thiis book to my students becauuse I believe this book will make kids want to read more because this is exactly what this book did for me when I was growing up.
  • (3/5)
    "Hatchet" is a story about a thirteen year old boy, Brian, who is on a plane to see his father after his parents divorced. On the way to see his father the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes. Brian is forced to survive out in the Canadian wilderness with a hatchet for a weapon all by himself. Brian is all alone but still manages to survive by himself and take care of himself. He has to kill his own food and make a place where he will be sheltered from the outside. In the end he is finally rescused.In the fourth grade we read this book as a class and I remember thinking about what it would be like to be alone and have to take care of yourself. That is a huge step for a thirteen year old to have to take on. It is an excellent book about survival.In the classroom I would ask the students to write about what they would have done if they were in Brian's place. I might also have them tell about a time that they were alone and had to take care of theirselves.
  • (5/5)
    It is survival!!
  • (3/5)
    The book Hatchet was a book that I liked for many reasons. One what that it was an exciting book to read. This teenage kid named Brian goes to see his father in Canada for the summer because his parents are divorced. So when he goes to go see his father by a plain, the pilot gets a heart attack. They crash and Brian is left all alone in the wilderness. To by the time they found Brian, he has learned how to be more than he thought he could. He can hear better, see better, and his conscience is always really correct. He knows how to make things better and knows how to take care of himself really good. He learns new things about a lot a different animals and understands them. This book thought me a lot about the wilderness and so much more that I never new. I liked this book for the reason that it thought me so much!
  • (5/5)
    I was wary of the book at first but I enjoyed it at the end. The fact that he was able to survive for months by himself was incredible. I could never imagine being stranded and having to do half the things he did. When he had to dislodge the survival bag from the plane and the dead pilot was there I could visualize it so clearly and I was disgusted. The imagery in the book was amazing. I also liked how in the beginning of the book focused on how he kept thinking about the secret and his parents pending divorce but in the middle it was all about him surviving and trying to be rescued so it is as if there are layers. The divorce and secret he thought were the worst but in reality nothing was as worst as him being stranded by himself. The overall meaning of this book was to preserve and never give up. He continued to try to get rescued and continued to work to make sure he survived.
  • (4/5)
    “Hachet” was a fantastic book with an even more fantastic main point; that if you retain all the knowledge that you have encountered then it can help you in any situation in life. This is conveyed through the character development of Brian. For every time he encounters something that he has read about or saw on the TV he is able to look back on his prior knowledge. He takes this knowledge and applies it to the situation that he is in. As I was reading this book I watched this character develop in ways that wouldn’t have been possible without his prior knowledge. For he developed from a boy who was just on a trip into a boy who was able to live an survive in the wild for days on end. I also really enjoyed the plot of this story. For it is not just a book about a boy who gets stranded in the woods it’s a story about a boy who has a secret and is stuck in a place where he has to face it head on. This plot allowed me as the reader to not just be invested in the story but the under story of the book and I feel that this is one of the main reasons I continued to read.
  • (4/5)
    (First published in 1987). This adventure/survival story is about a 13 year old boy named Brian Robeson, who is involved in a plane crash on the way to visit his father. Due to Brian being the only passenger on the plane and the pilot dying, he’s forced to face surviving the Canadian wilderness alone. All Brian has to protect him from this harsh environment is his clothing and a hatchet. I think Hatchet is a really exciting story that would capture the attention of even reluctant readers, with the whole idea of placing an adolescent in such a bleak situation, and showing how he copes with the various challenges along the way. As I was reading Hatchet, I certainly felt that I got to know Brian, and I felt a real empathy with what he was experiencing. For Paulsen’s writing is descriptive, portraying Brian’s moods and thoughts throughout. It’s also a realistic depiction of character development in this type of scenario. Hatchet is suitable for ages of about 10 to 16. Another classic that deals with the theme of survival is Homecoming (1981), by Cynthia Voigt.
  • (4/5)
    When I was a kid, there were a million lost boy/girl books out. Hatchet might have been the first of those ever published. Because it is geared more towards boys and children with broken homes, I never really knew how to relate to Brian. I also was innately scared of the book because my only fear in life was (and still is) coming in contact with a tornado. But the concept of the underdog becoming his own hero is an amazing way to get young people to read. A wonderful, clear book, with a reflective main character. I was glad to listen to the audiobook.
  • (5/5)
    Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present. He also knows dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parents’ divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity, or despair—he must use all his know-how and determination, and courage to survive. This book kept reminding me of Jack London’s Call of the Wild. The descriptions of how Brian went about ensuring his survival, only with the use of his hatchet were inspiring. I loved this book—I feel that this would make a great family read. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought the book was well written and it gave insight into what Brian was thinking when he was stranded. I also really liked the foreshadowing in the beginning of the book. When Brain and the pilot are in the plane, Brian notices a body smell coming from the plane and assumes the pilot must have an upset stomach. Later on, the body gas gets a lot worse and the Pilot has a heart attack. What I did not like about his book was how long it was. Most of the chapters were of Brian being stranded and trying to make a fire, catch fish, and survive. It does not get interesting until he gets attacked by the cow and the tornado comes to destroy his shelter. I feel that most of the chapters in between could have been taken out and the book would have been easier to read. The big idea of this book is to never give up on any hard times in your life. Having a positive attitude can get you very far in life. And no matter how frustrated you get, you always persevere to reach your happiness. This is exactly what Brian did in Hatchet.
  • (5/5)
    The Hatchet is a great novel for middle school readers. The Hatchet is a story about the fight for survival and an important gift Brian receives from his mom that will save his life. This book is interesting. Readers will not want to put it down. Teachers can do many projects with this book like create your own survival tool.
  • (5/5)
    Hatchet is an intense novel that takes the reader on the mental and physical journey of a boy Brian. Brian shows great toughness in the story at multiple points, even in his weakness. That was one thing I liked about this book. No matter how much diversity Brian faced, he kept going even at the toughest times. On the plane ride that eventually ends in the plane crashing, Brian was mentally dealing with the pain of the unfortunate situation of his parents divorce and even in a time like that he was able to keep his composure enough when the plane was crashing to guide it into a lake, saving his life. Brian had thoughts of ending his own life in these terrible times but even after trying, he fails to but this makes him stronger. He did not want to give in to death and rather fight for survival. This is a great message for people who are contemplating suicide because Brian’s life was at an all time low and he was able to realize that living was better than giving up, which I wish was the case for all people with suicidal thoughts. Another thing I liked was that the story referred back to his past, especially in the way it revolves around his survival because it shows the meaningfulness in the things people experience. For example, for shelter he thought back to when his friend Terry and him would pretend to be lost in the woods and they would make a lean-to for shelter, and he thought back to his science classes when he was making the fire and he remembered it needed oxygen. This also connects to the main idea of the story, which is that people should never give up, no matter how bad things seem to be you can always keep fighting to survive or see better days.
  • (3/5)
     I really enjoyed the adventure, excitement, and suspense that filled this entire novel. I'm not one for camping, but i loved this book because it kept me on my toes. I also liked how it was based around the main character, Brian, had to deal with all of his subsided thoughts about his parents divorce, his mother leaving his father, and the fact that his family would never be the same. He is forced to deal with his emotions once he becomes stranded in the woods of upstate New York after the plane that he is taking to visit his mother crashes. The hatchet serves as the one main survival tool that Brian used throughout the book to complete various survival tasks for eating, everyday living, and protection. I liked how the entire book was either flashbacks that Brian was having of himself and his family or about surviving in general. Paulsen writes, "the most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn’t work." I also loved the constant interactions that happened throughout the book, like when Brian faced his first bear and dove back in the lake at the end of the book to receive the GPS device that would inevitably save him. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone.