Filed under: News, Reviews, Contests | Tags: book review, Canadian wilderness, Gary Paulsen, Hatchet, plane crashes, YA
BOOK REVIEW :: Kevin Wilder
“He was alone. In the roaring plane with no pilot he was alone.”
When I first started watching LOST, I made an unwritten agreement to myself, in my mind. I loved the show, but also knew I would never be able to read or watch another book, movie, or TV show dealing with plane crash survivors resisting death and coming to terms with their lives back home. It seemed like a worn subject to me, like stories about young people taking care of dying relatives.
Gary Paulsen wrote Hatchet in 1987, almost twenty years before LOST. And like the TV show, I found myself getting more and more into it. Unlike the show though, it was consumed in one or two sittings (at least if we discount the sequels, anyway).
Brian Robeson’s plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness after his pilot faces a fatal mid-air heart attack. He must eat whatever he finds to survive: berries, fruit, rabbits, birds—you know, the usual. He keeps track of days, and somehow remains positive through it.
Surely all of us have seen this type of thing before. But what drew me in was the voice. It grabbed the heart from my chest, kind of like that character from Street Fighter II does (which one was that again?).
I sympathized with the outdoorsman stuff even more after reading Paulsen’s notes in the back. As it turns out, the author tried most of Brian’s survival tactics himself, such as starting a fire with a hatchet, and even gobbling some turtle eggs. These things only seemed appealing in a “I dare you to try this” sort of way, but it still made me realize I should go camping more.
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