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  • ★★★★★-5

Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Spoiler-Free)

I never read this book in elementary school, and I really can’t tell you why. I think I was already experiencing the desire to not like what everyone else loved. While now I understand how stupid that idea is, I feel like that could be what stopped me from reading this sooner. However, after seeing the gorgeous 30th anniversary edition of this book at the bookstore, I just had to pick it up. From the first page alone, I immediately became engrossed in the determination of Brian. I could feel every thought he had and I could experience every effect that nature had on him. I was hit by every blow of anger and frustration at each setback. I was hollowed out by the disappointment he felt from each passing day. But most importantly, I learned the importance of resilience and the stupidity of feelings when it comes to survival. Paulsen’s writing style is very repetitive, and I understand why some people don’t like it, but it just so happened to click for me. My mind followed the exact same train of thought as Brian, and Paulsen’s writing made me feel like I was stranded in the woods as well. I’ve found a new overly-specific genre that I enjoy: survival in solitude. I don’t like survival stories that involve fighting and miscommunication; I enjoy survival stories in which one must learn one’s own limits. A person can accomplish much more than they can ever anticipate. So, thank you, Hatchet, for teaching me that I am capable of so much more than I thought. If Brian can do it by simply taking a step back, then so could I. And, most importantly, so could you.

Song I was reminded of while reading: The Cave

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