Michelle Holmes English Mr. Gloyd Block 4 6/15/11 Adventure in the Forest The cover and title of Getting Air, by Dan Gutnam made me predict that the book would be about skateboarding. In fact, the story opens with a group of skaters, Jimmy, David and Henry, on a plane bound for the X Games in Los Angeles. However, by the beginning of chapter three, when a main character, Julia asks her brother Jimmy about the statistics on plane crashes, I began to suspect that this story was about a plane crash. What I didn’t know then was that it would also be a story about working together as a group to survive harsh circumstances. Jimmy, David, Henry and Julia get into their seats on a plane. An elderly woman named Mildred, on her way to a knitting conference, sits in front of Jimmy. They are all served by a pretty young flight attendant named Arcadia. The story is told from Jimmy’s perspective but all six characters have equal importance in the story. Pre-departure checks take place, and the plane is off. Once everyone is settled in and just after Julia comments on plane crashes, a loud scream echos through the cabin. A stewardess falls to the floor with a thud, and two men with masks stand up. The plane begins to make erratic movements. Climbing, dropping, slowing down, speeding up, shaking. Jimmy, David, Henry and Julia begin making plans to attack the hijackers who appear to have no weapons and an apparently fake bomb strapped around one’s body. As one of the hijackers walks by, Jimmy grabs his titanium skateboard, which he had made with his dad, with both hands and swings it up back and as hard as he can. It connects with the back of the hijacker’s head. The hijacker crumples to the floor. The other hijacker moves to attack, but
as he storms down the aisle the other passengers attack him with everything they’ve got: canes, umbrellas, knitting needles, and their fists. After some pummeling, hitting, kicking, and punching, both hijackers are now unconscious. They suspect that there are more hijackers toward the front of the plane, so five of them move forward with their “weapons” and push the serving cart as hard as they can into the cockpit. Arcadia throws hot water, taking down the third hijacker, and the fourth and last goes down as the five attack him. After dragging the hijackers out of the cockpit, they discover that both the pilot and copilot have been killed. Henry, who had taken only one class in almost every subject, had taken a flying course. When the plane begins to dip and nosedive, Henry takes control and crash lands the plane. Unfortunately, only six people survive. They are in a forest and Julia’s leg is broken. They use twigs and cloth from the suitcases to stabilize her leg. After spending a cold uncomfortable night on the ground, they wake up and decide to hunt for food and water. They decided to use the front of the plane as a shelter. During the process of trying to survive, they discuss many topics, including God. Mildred’s birthday passes and they celebrate using “mud cakes.” They work together to find water and food, and even make a half-pipe out of the top shell of a plane. They eat snake and rabbit. They build a fire without matches, using a cotton ball, Vaseline, grip tape from the skateboard, and a camera lens to focus the sunlight and start the fire. They also struggle with respecting each other’s opinions. Julia’s suggestion to build a fire during the day is ignored at first, resulting in a missed rescue opportunity. David storms off because he wants to do things his way instead of working with the group. The group later finds him wounded by a snake and helps him.
After five days of trying to survive, a Mounty rescues them. Their picture is in the newspaper and they are on the Tonight Show. Because of all of the publicity, Jimmy and his dad are able to manufacture and sell the skateboard that saved his life. A strong theme in Getting Air is â€œcooperation is survival.â€? The group of strangers becomes friends through the process of trying to get the things that they need. Julia got help from the others to make a trap to catch a rabbit, and the team used their creativity to figure out how to get the rabbit in the trap. Each team member was important to them finding food. I liked that there was an adventure in this book. Also, I never knew what would happen next. The characters were all different in their own way, and liked each of them for different reasons. I liked Julia the most because she was amazingly smart and thoughtful. I liked Jimmy because he was kind and he listened to everyoneâ€™s opinions. I liked the other characters as well. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventures and skateboarding.