Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

What would you do if you were the lone survivor of a plane crash, and the landing site was in the middle of nowhere?

I wouldn't know what to do. I don't know how long I will survive. Days could probably pass before I starve to death because I have a lot of adipose fat that my body can use for fuel. But when that is no longer enough, I wouldn't really know what to do for food. 

Image from Amazon
In this Newberry Honor Book, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, 13 year old Bryan is able to survive in the Canadian wilderness aided by his hatchet - a present that his mother gave him just before he left for the trip that would forever change his life. 

This is a relatively short read, and targeted for children and young teens. It is a coming of age story of a young boy struggling through life as a child of newly divorced parents - and then living alone in the forest. One minute he was given a chance to handle the reins of a Cessna, then next he was witnessing the pilot have a heart attack. He then had to land the plane on his own minutes later. 

He is bruised and battered. Then hungry, and very hungry. He learns to drink from the lake, pick berries (and eat in moderation), avoid bears, eat turtle eggs. He also makes a shelter, and builds a fire. He is resourceful, and his senses are heightened - he didn't used to be those, but he had to change. His environment and circumstances forced him to change. Forced him to grow up. 

I bought this book not because I was interested in reading an adventure story but really because of the Nebwery Honor seal. It didn't disappoint. Maybe I just have good imagination, but you couldn't help but have a mental picture of the setting while reading. It's also a good way to initiate conversations around man vs. nature, positivity, navigating the world around you, and coping to change.