What are people saying?
It started for me, the love of this book when my wife brought it home from school and asked me to read it before she made it available for the boys in her classroom to read for something called , (AR),, which was something that I could do to help her and her students. This has to be by far one of the greatest young adult adventures of the 20th century. Mr Paulson did a fantastic job of writing this book. It impressed me just how he, (the writer), took the time to explain just what was going on in young Brian's life that caused him to be going on this trip. Having gone on similar camping trips during my childhood, I had a better understanding of some of the things that happened after the crash and how Brian was able to survive. As a book reviewer and as an old man I would put this book in the top 5 books to get a young boy of say 10 to 12 years old to start reading for pleasure and not just for a test or grade.
This book is about a teenager called Brian. His mom and father are divorced, and he lives with his mom throughout the school year and his father during the summer. Brian was flying from New Hampshire, from his mom’s home to Canada where his dad lived in a 2-seater plane. The pilot started to have some horrible aches and pains, and finally, the pain really stuck with a spasm attack. The pilot screamed in pain and shook in his seat, having a heart attack. Soon enough, the pilot died, and Brian had to take the wheel. He crash-landed the plane into a lake, and that's only the beginning of this adventurous story about survival, animal encounters, such as a fight with bears, a moose, and porcupines! He survives with broken bones and depression for an astonishing 54 days before being rescued.
Throughout the ordeal, he lived off many things, went hunting with a bow and arrow, or occasionally a gun that he salvaged from the plane that crashed. He made fishing nets and built traps to trap animals. He built a tiny room out of the mud where he slept. This shelter was critical to his survival because of the torturous environment. At one point in the story, a bear wrecked the whole place, looking for the spare meal that Brian kept there. Brian also encountered skunks and many other horrible things that threw him off track.
I recommend this book to any pre-teen or teen from age 11 to 18 that likes adventure stories which include survival, action, hunting with various weapons such as a bow and arrow, and the great outdoors. It includes some violence because the main character has to ****, skin, and cook the animals. In the story, the main character goes through depression because of his family and other things, so younger readers would have to be careful about that. The book is long (195 pages), but is written so well that it keeps the reader’s attention. Gary Paulson writes in a way that makes the reader feel sympathetic or sorry for the main character in his environment. The author makes the reader feel as if he/she is in Bryan’s shoes, often trying to help Bryan solve his problems.
The book is for an audience that would learn something from him, like me. It’s a very emotional story, yet very action packed. Mind you, it is a page turner that will keep you thinking about the book non-stop. It’s for any adult too, because family members of mine have read it and loved it as well. It is very underrated because many students aren’t familiar with Gary Paulsen. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
Gary Paulsen has written many other books with Brian as the main character, including, Brian’s Winter, Brian’s Return, The River, and Brian’s Hunt. The theme of the books is survival and the genre is realistic fiction. I highly recommend Gary Paulson’s books, they are suspenseful and include some humor.