This book is an alternative ending to Gary Paulsen’s previous novel “Hatchet”, about a boy who is the sole survivor of an airplane crash in a remote area of Canada. While I enjoyed “Hatchet”, it did feel like the ending was a bit too abrupt, and the rescue too convenient. What if Brian hadn’t been rescued when he was? What would his life had been like if he had to endure winter in the wild? That’s exactly what happens in “Brian’s Winter”.
This book continues with the same flavor and feel as “Hatchet”. Life is really reduced to two basic needs: having enough food to keep alive, and having enough warmth to keep from freezing. Almost all of Brian’s waking hours are devoted to gathering firewood, making better tools for hunting, learning the habits of the animals, hunting, and making his cave winter-proof.
Anyone who is a vegetarian would probably not want to read this book, as it does have a lot of content about hunting animals. But in reality, anyone in this situation would be forced to do as Brian did to stay alive. I appreciated his attitude of trying to kill his prey as quickly as possible to reduce the suffering, and trying to live in harmony with the animals he saw. I especially enjoyed his encounters with the skunk that kept showing up! If you have read and enjoyed “Hatchet”, you should definitely continue on with “Brian’s Winter”.
Review of first book: “Hatchet”