on January 15, 2001
I first heard about Brian's Winter when my teacher gave every student a copy the day before winter break. I am not a very bookish person, so I only read books that I tremendously like from the first chapter. This book was one of the rare books that captivated me on the first page. Without warning, Brian was involved in a horrible plane crash. He sustained no injuries, and afterwards he also survived on the isolated lake grounds for a very long time. I was very interested in all of Brian's weapons, his Native American ways of survival, and his hunting skills. I had tried reading Hatchet but it didn't really interest me. A good strategy to get yourself reading more is to read the second book in a series to get all the excitment right away, then read the first in the series. I was really impressed by Brian's way of survival in the wilderness. It was very suspenseful and exciting when Brian had to put up somewhat of a fight against some of his larger prey. I just couldn't put the book down. I admired Brian's way of life so much, that now one of my favorite things to do is to hunt rabbits and set traps for birds. In conclusion, Brian's Winter was filled with excitement, suspense, and emotion.
on November 6, 2014
This is a great book you must read it! This book is great for people who like adventure and survival books because this book is about "survival in extreme environments". This book is about a 13 year old boy named Brian Robeson survived a fierce plane crash, unfortunately he was the inly survivor and was stranded a in a forest with a deadly winter just around the corner. Brian was certainly not at all prepared for this deadly winter but....I cut off the ending for a reason, so if you want to know what happened in the end you have to read the book it may surprise you. What I really like about this book because during the book Brian remembers his life before the plane crash like his house, family, and belongings and how everything has changed. This l has made me realized too appreciate the things we have because one second he have everything one second later we have nothing. so read this book it is great.
on July 23, 2014
My daughter, 13, pushed me to read the Gary Paulsen books. I did, and I found them moderately enjoyable. They are a fast read for an adult, and I find them to be definitely designed for the lower attention span teenagers. They were good stories, but it seemed to me the author got tired of writing these books and ... just put The End on it. Each story has detail, then just quits. I would recommend it for boys, for teens, and for someone who can't get into a thousand page story.
on May 2, 2016
Review - The Brain Sagas by Gary Paulsen
I have now finished all five of the Brian Sage books - “Hatchet,” “The River,” “Brian’s Winter,” “Brian's Return” and “The Hunt.” and the epilogue “Guts” by Gary Paulsen. “The Hatchet” is one of three Newberry Awards that Gary Paulsen has earned.
Basically the series is one story. The story of an teenage boy who at age 13 is left alone in the North Woods of Canada due to a pilot’s fatal heart attack and plane wreck. The first book, “The Hatchet” tells of the guts, intelligence, patience and luck of a 13 year old boy with little wilderness experience in learning how to live and survive in a remote wilderness. We get a marvelous set of instructions in wilderness lore and living, and a glimpse into an intelligent mind that problem solves, learns and masters a strange world. At the end of this book Brian retrieves a signal radio from the submerged plane and is rescued.
In “Brian’s Winter” is an alternate ending. Brian is not rescued, but manages to learn more and survive into December. We see more of Brian’s talents and abilities and new found skills. Here, Brian stumbles into a family of Cree Native Americans manning a trap line, who take him in. Brian flies out on the next supply place. The Cree family consider him like one of the “old people” for Brian is dressed in skins he has captured and his arrows have stone points he has made himself. Yes, some of the story is very fortuitous for Brian, but that does not distract from the lessons of the wilderness and the lessons of life Brian has to learn to survive.
“The River” is a book with Brian returning to the North Woods with a psychologist, Derek, of the military attempting to learn how to teach survival to the military. The man is not schooled in the wilderness at all, and Brian become “the adult” in charge of the adventure. Brian sends the 200 pounds of supplies back with the plane that flew them in, and commences to recreate the world he knew in the first two books. Half the book is a terrifying trip over 100 miles, 3+ days, down a river, its rapids, lakes and swamps, with Derek unconscious on a wilderness made raft. We get a first hand look at the guts necessary to achieve this. Again, the manage to make a trapper’s cabin and are rescued.
In “Brian’s Return” we see Brian not fitting back into civilization, 15 - 16 year old’s school and society. Brian has adjusted to the Wilderness, and that is the reality he much prefers. Brian takes along a few supplies an d does very well.
In “The Hunt” Brian is back in the North Woods learning more woods lore and ways. By now he is nearly a expert. Brian finds an old man, Billy, in his camp one evening. Billy and Brian share a mutual evening of silent communication and while few words are exchanged, Brian gains “medicine.”’ In respect, Billy, leaving camp very early before Brian is awake, leaves a amulet of white tail deer fur and crow’s feathers for Brian. Brian recognizes the significance of this and immediately hangs it around his neck. Shortly thereafter, Brian and a wounded dog find each other. It turns out the dog belonged to the Cree Family Brian had met in “Brian’s Winter.” Unfortunately, a bear had devastated the cabin and family of the Cree family , killing two members of that family. Brian rescues the wife, buries the dead, and deals with the stoic, bureaucratic officials. Once they leave, Brian hunts and in a wonderful scene - which I will not spoil - kills the bear.
“Guts” is stories from Gary Paulsen’s life, rough childhood, adventures in Minnesota, Canada, the American South West, Colorado. These episodes Gary wove into Brian’s Story - a story beautifully and touchingly told. Gary’s knowledge and actual experiences gave him the insight to write the Brian Saga. Not only is the woods lore appropriately, accurately and well handled, but the changes that the North Woods induces in Brian are well followed. The books are at once a deep lesson in both survival and in life. We learn much about wilderness living. But we also are treated to the contrasts of life in the city and in the Wilderness.
Due a few violent scenes, this series should not be read by youth under 13 or so. Death is a part of life, and life is an endless living with what is there. It takes “guts”, perseverance, and patience, to achieve what Brian achieved, and that is the real message of these books. Life takes Real Guts,lots of perseverance, and lots of patience.
The books read very well. The stories are well told. The reading level is at least 8th grade. And for those with an interest in Nature and the Wilderness, be it North Woods, SW desert or ocean, the lessons apply. I found the reading to be extremely enjoyable, and the lessons deep and well taught without being preachy. A great series of books.