Monday, March 31, 2008

Brian’s Return

It's been a long time since I read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, but I can still remember the eloquent detail Paulsen used to show Brian's survival in the wilderness. Since he first published that book in 1987, Paulsen continued the series with The River and Brian's Winter. I was not disappointed with the sharp account of Brian's return to the bush—authentic detail abound. The conflicts that Brian faces in trying to return to civilization are acutely captured in this short 2-CD audio book from Listening Library, but I kept thinking—how can this book end so quickly? I admit, I was hoping for a different ending. But after listening to the author's note at the end in which Paulsen talks about his own life and his difficulties coming back into "real life" as you and I know it, I realized that Paulsen wrote the only ending that would truly fit who Brian was (and who Paulsen himself is.) This series of books are unabashedly autobiographical and I would recommend them as stellar examples of an author mining his own life to create realistic fiction—an element which I talk about in Teaching the Story and in my workshop, Mining Your Students' Lives: Writing Rich Short Stories. Brian's Return
was released as Hatchet: The Call by Macmillan Children's Books in the UK on January 8, 1999.

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1 comment:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

My family and I listened to Hatchett on audio when the children were in middle school. I have been a Gary Paulsen fan ever since.

So recently, when I discovered Brian's Return on audio, I had to check it out of my library. I really enjoyed it - especially since the reader's voice was the same one. I think it would be hard to improve on Hatchett though!

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