Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is an adventure book that is suitable for middle age readers. This is a book that shows the survival of man in nature. Brian Robinson aged thirteen years is the main character in this book. He lived with his mother after his parents had divorced. He embarks on a journey to the oil fields of Canada to visit his father and spend his summer aboard a Cessna aircraft where he is the only passenger. All through the young man knew why his parents broke up, but he did not want to speak about it, he felt like it was an inner punishment to him.
After boarding the airplane, his mother gives him a hatchet as a present which she tells him to tie onto his belt. The hatchet remains there and along the journey. The flight is an adventure for the young boy who is allowed to take control of the plane by the pilot. The pilot suffers a heart attack. The plane crashes and the hatchet which is believed to be a lucky charm saves the boy. Brian has to struggle for survival after he realizes that there is nobody to rescue him. This realization comes after he goes through nausea and fright from the crash. He had found refuge in a corner of a dark cave where he cried for long but realized that no crying would rescue him. He had to learn how to survive.
The only thing that Brain had was his bag pack and the hatchet. He struggles to find food, water shelter and warmth in the unfamiliar ground he had found himself. As the days go by, Brian starts to learn how to survive; he eats wild berries, fish and turtle eggs and wild birds. He learns how to make fire sparks using the hatchet. However nature does not spare him from other challenges. He is faced by dangerous wild animals, insects and severe storms. The greatest challenge is the mental torture that his thoughts take him into, once he is alone in the wilderness th4er secret of his parents’ divorce haunt him. Brian has to persevere through all this challenge unleash the hidden potential in him. His inner strengths enable him to survive for fifty four days in the harsh conditions.
The book is an encouraging one for young readers who think that feeling pit6y for themselves will solve their challenges. Brian is able to overcome the trials and tribulations by having a positive mentality. It is quite clear from the book that the greatest opponent towards the survival of any human being is the human mind. However, Brian proves that we are all in control of ourselves.