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Date finished: April 24, 2019

Rating: ★★★★

Hatchet, Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen was a staple of my middle school career. His stories are riveting, memorable, and frankly pretty inspirational. Hatchet is the pinnacle of his works, in my opinion, and I purchased a physical copy recently (I hadn’t read this one since I borrowed it from Chester Middle School’s library) so I could enjoy it again.

Protagonist Brian is on his way to visit his dad in remote Canada, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, when the pilot of the small plane he’s in suffers a heart attack, leaving Brian to land the plane safely and then try not to die in the Canadian wilderness.

Paulsen excels at painting Brian’s story realistically, and while I’ve never been forced to fend for myself with only the clothes on my back as a resource, I imagine I’d approach the problem much in the same way Brian does — using knowledge from books and TV and snippets remembered from my dad’s hunting stories.

This was a favorite for me as a middle schooler, and I’m happy to say it really holds up and is still great fun to read as an adult.

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