Hatchet Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.
More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths. Self-pity doesn't work. Despair doesn't work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.
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|Listening Length||3 hours and 42 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 31, 2003|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #962 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2 in Children's Books on Marriage & Divorce
#8 in Family Life Fiction for Children
#8 in Action & Adventure for Children
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2022
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Hatchet is the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson. Brian sets off as a passenger in a single-engine bush plane to visit his father in northern Canada. On the way, the pilot dies in a heart attack. Brian, whom the pilot had been showing how to fly the plane before his heart attack, manages to crash the plane in a lake in the forest. He survives the crash, but then has the problem of surviving until he is rescued. He DOES survive (not a spoiler, since the publisher's blurb tells us that this is a "story of survival").
You would naturally imagine this to be an action-packed story, but it really is not. There are a few exciting moments, most conspicuously the crash and the tornado (also mentioned in the blurb). It is mostly about Brian figuring out how to survive -- how to feed himself and remain safe from danger. And survival, it turns out, depends on wisdom. Brian learns to see the wild world he inhabits and to know its meanings. I am tempted to say that Brian becomes wise, but I think that's unfair to him. Brian was wise, but his wisdom needed to be brought to the fore.
In an epilog, Gary Paulsen tells us that Brian is forever changed by this experience.
"When the pilot rescued Brian he had been alone on the L-shaped lake for fifty-four days. During that time he had lost seventeen percent of his body weight. He later gained back six percent, but had virtually no body fat—his body had consumed all extra weight and he would remain lean and wiry for several years.
"Many of the changes would prove to be permanent. Brian had gained immensely in his ability to observe what was happening and react to it; that would last him all his life. He had become more thoughtful as well, and from that time on he would think slowly about something before speaking."
When I read that, I felt oddly envious. I caught myself wishing that something like this could happen to me. Of course, I don't really. I don't want to be trapped in the forests of northern Ontario for 8 weeks all on my own. I'm happy here with my books and movies and grocery stores and microwave oven. But, let us just say, Hatchet shows me something of what those cost me.
Hatchet is brief -- about a two-hour read. And yes, there is indeed a hatchet involved. The story has a real feeling of authenticity.
The point is: What new thing can I say about such a book? The answer is probably nothing with the point being that Amazon allows each of its customers an individual voice, despite how many there might be.
As a children's librarian (including those middle school children), I know that "Hatchet" is a great recommended read for reluctant readers for whatever reasons. Why haven't I read this book, I continued to ask myself. So--this summer I asked my great-niece and -nephew, 12 and 10, if we could all read and discuss this book? All agreed, no one finished. Here's how the first couple of chapters go: Brian, aged 13, is flying to a remote area in Northern Canada to stay with his dad. Because the area is so remote, a private plane must be hired. That means one pilot, one passenger in a tiny two-seater. Then, as it so happens from time to time in the real world--out of nowhere, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a rush of panic, Brian takes over and flies the plane until fuel runs out. Then he must land. Therein lies the difficulty. With so many lakes and rivers in the Canadian wilderness, where he is, at that point and moment in space and time, reveals an unsatisfactory water bed, but he must land anyway. Water is like concrete to a flying object on impact. Brian hits his head and wrenches his whole body in the crash, but he makes it out and swims to shore in icy water.
Now that's an exciting beginning. Who wouldn't want to read further, but I didn't. Finally, when I discovered that none of us had finished the book, I picked it up again and continued reading. At exactly that point begins one incredible episode after the other in Brian's personal and up close experience with a life threatening adventure. A city boy, Brian knows nothing about survival skills or even simple camping. What resources he calls on are two: television programs and a teacher's mantra that each of us is the person to most rely on.
As an aside, Paulsen spent a few nights camping in his backyard, using stones and sticks to start a fire. Finally, his wife asked what in the world was he doing? (I think this is just a neat story to relate about the background for his book and not really true.) He replied, "Trying to start a fire." "Well, why don't you just use matches?" she asked. "I don't have any," he responded.
And neither did Brian, so the description of his efforts to start a fire ring true--because they are. In his two month sojourn (not intentional, mind you), Brian meets a bear, fool birds, chokeberries, a crazed elk, rabbits, a tornado, and a continuing incredible (but believable) array of obstacles and milestones and little victories.
Brian fully expected to be rescued within 24 hours until he remembered how off-course he probably flew the plane himself. Hours turned into days, days into weeks, and .... I wish I could comment on the ending because I have some things to say, but in whatever subtle way I said it, I would reveal spoilers. Allow me this: I had been right there with Brian the whole way. The ending stunned me. I mean it--I was stunned!
Because of the ending I began researching what else Paulsen had written, and discovered more Brian books. I cannot say anything about them either, but I've ordered them for my school library.
Now I know why I can recommend this book to reluctant readers--and of course, anyone who loves a good story!! Hatchet? Didn't I mention it? It's really not the hatchet that saves Brian for so long--it is Brian himself wielding the hatchet. This book is definitely a great read!