This book begins with Brian Robeson, a 13 year old boy who lives in New York, getting ready to visit his father in Canada. His parents are going through a divorce, and he is going to stay with his father for the summer. He is the only passenger in small plane. The pilot of the plane begins to... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
This book begins with Brian Robeson, a 13 year old boy who lives in New York, getting ready to visit his father in Canada. His parents are going through a divorce, and he is going to stay with his father for the summer. He is the only passenger in small plane. The pilot of the plane begins to have arm and stomach pains. He is complaining about his pains, when he suddenly has a heart attack. This left Brian alone in the plane. He had no idea how to fly the plane, and he had no idea where he was going. He finally decides to attempt to land the plane in a lake. He is succesful in crashing the plane in the lake. He survives the crash, and swims to the top of the lake, leaving the pilot behind. Once he makes it safely to dry ground, he realizes he is alone in the thick wilderness, with no way to get home. He had no food, no shelter, no supplies. The only thing he had was a thin wind breaker, and a hatchet that his mother had given him as a gift before he left to visit his father. Brian thinks that he will be rescued. He thinks that surely everyone would realize the plane crashed, and there will be search teams that will find him. In the meantime he had to find a place to sleep for the night. He decided to sleep in a small cave. Once Brian realizes that he is more than likely not going to be rescued, he goes into survival mode. He fixes his shelter up. He covers the opening of the cave with branches and leaves as a blind for protection. He learns to fish, he gathers berries, and water. He looks for anything and everything he can find to help him survive. He learns to start a fire by using his hatchet. He hits his hatchet against the cave, and sparks ignite leaves and money that he had in his wallet. He uses the fire to stay warm and cook his fish. Brian day dreams of hamburgers, and all of the things he missed about being at home. He faces many challenges beyond trying to find food, shelter, water. He has to try to keep warm and preserve food. He faces wildlife including a moose and a porcipine. He faces injuries, including broken ribs. Towards the end of the book, Brian decides to swim to the bottom of the lake and receive the emergency kit from the plane. After trying a few times he is finally successful. He finds an emergency transmittor that does not work, and a lot of freezer dried food. He immediately cooks a big meal. As he is eating a big meal and enjoying his findings, a plane lands in the lake and rescues him. That is how the book ends; however, there is an alternate ending. Brian is eating the food, smiling at his findings. He is getting prepared for a brutal winter that he knows will be cold. He is thinking of the food he found, and knows it will not be enough for the winter. He knows he must find more food to help him survive the winter. This alternate ending was made so that Gary Paulsen could write the sequal , "Brian's Winter" and "Brian's Return".
“Long tears, self-pity tears, wasted tears.”
“Incredible wealth. It was like all the holidays in the world, all the birthdays there were.”
“It was a strange feeling, holding the rifle. It somehow removed him from everything around him. Without the rifle he had to fit in, to be part of it all, to understand it and use it-the woods, all of it. With the rifle, suddenly, he didn't have to know; did not have to be afraid or understand.”
“Never. Never in all the food, all the hamburgers and malts, all the fries or meals at home, never in all the candy or pies or cakes, never in all the roasts or steaks or pizzas, never in all the submarine sandwiches, never never never had he tasted anything as fine as that first bite. First meat.”
“Early in the new time he had learned the most important thing, the truly vital knowledge that drives all creatures in the forest--food is all. Food was simply everything. All things in the woods, from insects to fish to bears, were always, always looking for food--it was the great, single driving influence in nature. To eat. All must eat.”
“Long tears, self-pity tears, wasted tears.”
“You are your most valuable asset. Don’t forget that. You are the best thing you have”
most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn’t work.Highlighted by 117 Kindle customers
them—“You are your most valuable asset. Don’t forget that. You are the best thing you have.”Highlighted by 100 Kindle customers
None of that used to be in Brian and now it was a part of him, a changed part of him, a grown part of him, and the two things, his mind and his body, had come together as well, had made a connection with each other that he didn’t quite understand.Highlighted by 88 Kindle customers
Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience—waiting and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.Highlighted by 85 Kindle customers
Cessna 406—a bushplane—and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.Highlighted by 80 Kindle customers
But perhaps more than his body was the change in his mind, or in the way he was—was becoming.Highlighted by 70 Kindle customers
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.Highlighted by 55 Kindle customers
For a time that he could not understand Brian could do nothing. Even after his mind began working and he could see what had happened he could do nothing. It was as if his hands and arms were lead. Then he looked for ways for it not to have happened. Be asleep, his mind screamed at the pilot. Just be asleep and your eyes will open now and your hands will take the controls and your feet will move to the pedals—but it did not happen.Highlighted by 54 Kindle customers
It was pitiful enough. A quarter, three dimes, a nickel, and two pennies. A fingernail clipper. A billfold with a twenty dollar bill—“In case you get stranded at the airport in some small town and have to buy food,” his mother had said—and some odd pieces of paper.Highlighted by 46 Kindle customers
All so still-looking, so stopped, the pond and the moose and the trees, as he slid over them now only three or four hundred feet off the ground—all like a picture.Highlighted by 36 Kindle customers
Followed by Hatchet the Return.
Followed by The River.
This book is a great way to make ecology relevant to younger readers. There are however some disturbing scenes, such as when Brian finds the dead pilot, and there is a moment where Brian contemplates suicide. You may want to read over some of those sections beforehand in case, but the rest of the book is very appropriate for the age group. But Brain does encounter some struggles were he almost dies however it is still appropriate for the age group.
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