Book Title/Author: The Bear by Claire Cameron
Publisher/Year: February 24th 2015 by Seal Books (first published January 2014)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Adventure
“Told from the point of view of a six-year-old child, The Bear is the story of Anna and her little brother, Stick–two young children forced to fend for themselves in Algonquin Park after a black bear attacks their parents. A gripping and mesmerizing exploration of the child psyche, this is a survival story unlike any other, one that asks what it takes to survive in the wilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.” (Goodreads)
I am a huge fan of stories written from an interesting point of view and I have been drawn to the child narrative in the past. Hard part about the child narrative is that it needs to be many things to the reader: told in a believable voice, the explanations have to be descriptive but not drawn out excessively, the vocabulary has to be fitting to the age of the narrator but cannot be too childish that it loses the attention of an adult reader.
The Bear accomplishes this balance well, in my opinion. The Bear is told from the perspective of 5-year-old Anna, who explains the events of her and her little brother (who is 3-years-old) escaping their campsite after a bear attack, which resulted in the death of both their parents.
I did enjoy this book, it was a short and easy read as well; however, I wanted to like it more. In short, I have read better child-perspective stories and would recommend those before mentioning this particular book. Anna’s perspective was well written and held my interest, which was my favourite part; but I would have liked a story with a more in-depth storyline. The story is basic, tragic and well told from Anna’s perspective, but the climax happens early in the book, so you expect that there is something else major and catastrophic about to happen but nothing compares to the tragic start.
“The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. . . . It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws.”