Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review: Hatchet

I think I have a 'thing' for survival books, especially if they are a true story (although fiction is fine by me too!) Possibly it is because I am living in someone's house who has a great love of survival books so when I go to find something to read it's like choosing which 'boy becomes man' adventure novel that looks the coolest.

Hatchet ---> I read this book in one evening plus one morning before getting out of bed, it was not only a easy read but the adventure was something difficult to put down. So engaging is the true story that you don't realize you are even hungry or have a life outside of reading this book... until the character is stranded after a plane crash and starts describing his hunger so thoroughly that my own stomach growled too.
One of the neatest things about Hatchet was the boy survives in ways I would not have even thought of, and for a 13 year old facing death he is pretty freaking crafty! I wondered if when I was 13 could I have survived something so incredible as to be months in the wilderness without so much as a pack of matches to start a fire? Not unless I was Snow White and coulda lured animals into my arms... even if I did watch tons of TV like the boy Brian in Hatchet did (which he uses to figure out ways to survive).
His survival and his quick learning of the forest is really impressive, most amazing is how intuitively he learns to understand the behaviors of the creatures around him (bears, wolves, moose, etc). Not to mention, his rescue rocks.
All these years later it looks as though Brian never fully meshed with normal society again (he was from New York City afterall, then was living like Tarzan all alone, I wouldn't mesh either)...
follow up books exist! See here.

Anyone have other suggestions for fun survival books? True or not. :)



Gretta said...

I haven't read this since I was about 11 but the moose scene and the part where he swims down into the plane are forever burnt into my brain.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Gretta -
And the SKUNK! arhg. And the porcupine! and the choke cherries!
So crazy.
The plane crash in the beginning of the book really gave me anxiety... actually not so much the crash but WHY it crashed.

Liberty said...

this is one of my all time favourite books!
I didn't like the follow up ones nearly as much but that one - wow. it is awesome each time I read it.
I read that when writing it, the author actually did some of the things in real life that he had the character do in the book just to see what it was like (making a fire, eating something gross). the author is a wildnerness lover and it really comes out in the books.
one book that I haven't read yet but in a slightly similar theme is My Side Of The Mountain (written by the author of Julie Of The Wolves which I loved when younger but when trying to reread recently didn't like so much).
if I get around to reading it soon, I'll let you know how it was :)
This is one of my favourite genres too.
I loved the Clan Of The Cave Bear books just for all of the neat survival and herbal stuff. Valley of The Horses was best for it out of all the book I read (I never got past number 4).

I like these book reviews you do :-)

Anonymous said...

I echo Liberty's suggestions and would add Into the Wild.

And, although it's not about surviving in the wilderness, Where the Red Fern Grows is an old favorite.
Will be looking for Hatchet today; thanks for the recommendation.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Liberty!

I loved Clan of The Caves Bears too - but havent got to read any of the next books in that series... i heard they turn into romance novels almost? Which is pretty different from the first one. I would totally be into reading survival/romance though!! :)
I will look for My Side Of The Mountain!

I totally need to read Into The Wild, because every other person I meet suggests I should read it, i even had a friend mail it to me , only for it to get lost in the mail...
I probably should try out this online book swap thing my friend told me about - instead of buying books you trade books and only have to pay (book rate) to ship it out for the trade. I need to get the link from her...

Liberty said...

hi Leslie,
you are right - they do turn into romance novels and have some of the cheesiest sex scenes I've ever read.

but even though less than half of the book in total is about Ayla's survival, that part is really cool - focusing on her living alone and learning to survive, gathering plants, learning to trap animals... all really neat stuff!
not worth buying though unless it's at garage-sale prices