Monday, June 9, 2014

The Bear by Claire Cameron

It started off as a simple family camping trip for five-year-old Anna, her little brother, Stick, and her parents--a short canoe ride across Lake Opeongo to their favorite spot on Bates Island. But then a bear attacks their camp. Anna wakes when she hears her mother screaming. Before she knows what's happening, her father shoves both her and Stick into their large Coleman Cooler. In that dark box, she hears the sniffs and growls of what she imagines to be a big black dog, and the snap and crunch of bones breaking. The next morning, with her last breaths, Anna's mother tells her to get Stick into the canoe and float away to safety. Anna reluctantly does what her mother says.

The Bear is a story of struggle and survival as narrated by five-year-old Anna. Parts of it will make you cringe, other parts will break your heart. Cameron's choice to tell this story through the eyes and voice of a child is a unique and interesting one, but I struggled a little with Anna's first-person narrative. There were times I felt it dragged, and times when Anna's childish perception of things was not only muddled and confusing, but also a bit annoying. (I found myself skimming those parts.) Overall, though, I really liked this novel. Especially the ending! So don't give up on it too soon.

Happy Reading!

For another review of this book (and a better one!) check out Melwyk's post.

6 comments:

  1. I like survival-type fiction, so I may have to give this one a try. I would think having a five year old narrator would be limiting in telling the story. Interesting choice by the author. I am glad you found it worth it at the end. How long is this book? Great review!

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    1. It's about 200 pages, so not super long. And I did really like the ending! Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I had heard great things about this one, but I think your review is the first one to really say what the story is about. I'm not sure my mama heart could handle this one. It does reinforce my dislike of camping, though! :)

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    1. There were parts of this story that were REALLY hard to read; especially if you have children. Which I don't, but... And I get what you mean about camping; it's not my favorite thing either. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I know that many people struggled with this narrative choice, but I just went with it... yes, certainly many parts that made me wince... but since I have no plans to ever go camping again if I can help it, it didn't disturb me in that regard ;)

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    1. Thanks for recommending this book in the first place. I'm so glad that I read it! And so glad that I won't be camping any time soon. ;)

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