Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulson


Hatchet by Gary Paulson. As always, click the image to see pricing options at Barnes and

1988 Newbery Honor Winner

Synopsis: “ALONE

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 tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair — it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.” -taken from

So, chances are you had to read this in school, or if you are my age, or a little bit older, this book was a major piece in every scholastic book fair you ever went to. It really is worth the read if you have never read it and possibly good for a second time, if the ending doesn’t throw you off.

Brian is a very good main character, although I find it hard to believe that he is only 13 years old sometimes. The book has a lot of one word sentences like; “Alone.” “Divorce.” and “The Secret.”, which are really interesting and poignant, but also different from most writing styles I have seen (if you read the first 5 pages, you will know what I mean). Brian, after being trapped in the Canadian back woods, goes through all the stages of learning to survive, then, after some traumatic events, is reincarnated with a different outlook on life; survival. Taking great pains and focusing on survival instead of his parents divorce, Brian learns from his “Mistakes.” and makes his way through the Canadian summer in the back woods.

Now, the only problem I had with this book is the ending, which I won’t tell. But I will tell you that the book suddenly resolves in the last 3 paragraphs of the book and if you are looking for clues as you are reading, you aren’t going to find them. The ending is so sudden that it took me by surprise and before I knew it, I was staring at the back cover of the book and was feeling a little cheated. The epilogue did little to help that either, in fact, I found it quite INFURIATING!

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars, definitely worth reading!

As always, may the odds be ever in your favor.


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