My blog seems to be turning into a bit of a book review site at the moment with two out of three of my last posts being about the books I’ve read. And today is no different. Yes, that’s right, it’s another book review.
I came across this book a few weeks ago when I was researching for my own story, and after reading an extract – I decided I wanted to read the whole it.
Hatchet is about a boy, Brian Robeson aged thirteen, who is travelling by plane to see his dad for the first time after his parents have divorced. Mid-flight the pilot falls ill and the plane crashes down in the Canadian wilderness.
Armed with only a hatchet and an instinct to live, Brian has to quickly learn the ways of his new home in the wild in order to survive.
It’s a small book, one that would probably take a normal reader only a day or two, but it took me a week to read it during my commuting times. I liked this story; one, it was back to being written in the third person, and two, it was simply written, I didn’t have to consult a dictionary once!
Also, this book never felt like a chore, like something I had to endure or rush through to be able to leave it behind; Brian’s thoughts and actions didn’t always feel convincing to me, but there is always going to be something about a character that doesn’t strike you as right. For me, some of what Brian thought – felt like the thoughts of someone older trying to remember what it was like to be a thirteen year old, and not quite getting it right.
I realised towards the end too that I couldn’t always see in my mind what the author wanted me to see. Some of his descriptions would conjure images that didn’t seem to fit with a story of being lost in the wild – namely his make-shift shelter, but also the description of the lake. In my mind it was long and thin, almost a stream but then later in the story, it’s big enough that it takes Brian two hours to swim to where the plane had crashed in the water; the image I had created of Brian’s world apparently wasn’t right, so that threw me a little.
Apart from those points, the rest of the book was genius. The struggles that Brian must deal with and the lessons that he learns along the way are a real boost of motivation for the reader too. He quickly grasps how action, doing, trying and failing, are the only things that get a job done, self pity and laziness will not get food for your belly or put a roof over your head. Good lessons for life in general, I think you’ll agree?
It made me wonder how I would cope in such a situation. Would I cope? I like to think I would, and like to think that I could adapt but it’s just one of those things I’ll never know unless it happens.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen was a real page turner that kept me asking the same question the whole way through ‘Does Brian make it?’ I won’t spoil the ending but I will say that I felt satisfied with how it ended, it had a proper ending. I wasn’t left wondering why on earth I had bothered wasting my time on it, I was glad to have read it and would recommend it too!
Up next to read: Since Hatchet was such a quick read, it has left me with enough time before Christmas to grab an old favourite for this time of year A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The copy I have actually includes two of Dickens’ other Christmas stories; The Chimes, and, The Cricket on the Hearth. I may or may not read these as well, depends how close to Christmas it is when I’ve finished A Christmas Carol, I guess.
Until next time, which hopefully won’t just be another book review. x