A Time of Hope: Hatchet

Guest Post by Zizheng William Liu

Hatchet is the depiction of a world gone wrong. The book details the life of Brian Robeson, the son of divorced parents, and victim of a horrific plane crash. Left alone in the midst of the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a windbreaker and hatchet, Brian must tame himself to survive.

The story begins in the city, where 13-year-old Brian boards a bush plane to see his father for the summer. Miles up into the air, the plane pilot suffer from a heart attack, rendering the plane flying aimlessly above the Canadian landscape. But Brian had always been under tough situations. Ever since he had witnessed the dreaded secret that led to his parent’s divorce, Brian’s life had spiraled out of control. No, literally. The Cessna 406 bush plane that Brian was riding to see his father crashes, and Brian is forced to live his life in the wild. All the luxuries from the city are gone. Food needs to be hunted, shelter needs to be built, and the pesky mosquitoes need to be repelled. Over a month passes since the initial plane crash, and Brian finally finds a solution. He scavenges a transmitter from the plane ruins and that ultimately leads to his rescue. A fur buyer had been alerted to Brian, but the 54 days that Brian spent in the wilderness had still taken its toll.

A thrilling and powerful piece, Hatchet shows that any problem can be solved, even when life is on the line. In a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has swept through our nation, this book is an insight into the true potential that we all have. When utilized, no problem is too big to be solved.


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Scholastic Press, 1986.

Reviewer bio: Zizheng William Liu is an avid writer. His works have been published in multiple literary journals and he is an editor for Polyphony Lit Magazines.

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