Friday, June 26, 2009

Brian's Return - Gary Paulsen

Brian's Return
Gary Paulsen
Laurel Leaf
Copyright Date: 1999

According to the cover of Brian's Return:
As millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, and Brian's Winter know, Brian Robeson survived alone in the wilderness by finding solutions to extraordinary challenges. But now that's he's back in civilization, he can't find a way to make sense of high school life. He feels disconnected, more isolated than he did alone in the North. The only answer is to return-to "go back in"-for only in the wilderness can Brian discover his true path in life, and where he belongs.

Brian's Return is the next book in the series about Brian Robeson started in the Newberry Honor book, Hatchet. It follows Brian's Winter and The River.

This is where things start to get weird though. I'm sure I remember in the last two books somebody asking Brian about the fifty-odd days he survived in the wilderness, which made up the story of Hatchet and is explicitly stated in a couple of different places in The River, but at the same time, in Brian's Return he talks about things he saw and experienced in the winter there. Also, the main plot in this book is the first part of Brian's journey to rejoin the Smallburrows, who he met at the end of Brian's Winter, so Gary Paulsen is trying to merge the two timelines.

The problem with racing through all of the books in this series in one evening the way I did is that I can't always remember which detail was in which book. I apologise for that.

More or less though, Brian's Return and Brian's Hunt follow on Brian's Winter. This book shows just how much the experiences Brian had while learning to live in the wilderness changed him. For the first time, we really see him at home and at school. At the same time, it's easy to tell that he is probably going to end up returning to the life he made for himself in the woods (if only because otherwise there wouldn't be a story).

This time though, it's by choice, and he's going to be properly prepared.

As with the previous books I've read by Gary Paulsen, the descriptions were to the point and vivid. This is definitely a well written book. All too often, I could see the scenes he was depicting. Brian's Return is a short, but gripping tale, although it doesn't quite seem to finish the story. Still, at one point, this was supposed to be the final tale.

In some ways this was the most beautiful of the books, filled with peaceful descriptions of nature and small details about the world. No great disasters such as plane crashes this time, but the story doesn't need them.

My advice? Get all of the books at once. You're not going to want to stop reading until there is no more to read.

Other books in the series:
The River
Brian's Hunt
Brian's Winter
Brian's Return
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