Friday, February 14, 2014
THE BEAR (CLAIRE CAMERON)
Doubleday Canada|February 11, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-385-67902-2
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.
Told from the point of view of a five-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 atwilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.
THE BEAR was a sad story and a tear-jerker where I shredded kleenex after kleenex. Cameron's ability to write in the voice of five-year-old, Anna was amazing. Kids start off thinking about or talking about one specific topic which then go off track into another whole thought process altogether and Cameron captures this perfectly. She truly gets into the psyche of a five-year-old.
Little Anna did her very best at taking control of their dire situation and looking after two-year-old, Alex, affectionately known as 'Stick' or 'Sticky'. She tried very hard to be Momma, Daddy and babysitter at all the appropriate times.
She was ingenious in some of the ideas she came up with to get them through the sad and frightening situation they found themselves in. Her ability to talk herself out of her "worries" were quite mature for a five-year-old.
My heart bled for these two children who had to see the "messy, mess, mess," as Anna described it after the bear had attacked and eaten her Mommy and Daddy. Seeing what she thought was a piece of messy meat, like a leg of lamb with her Daddy's shoe on the end upset her because she thought her Daddy would be mad when he returned from wherever he went to find his sneaker attached to the end of this "messy, mess, mess."
The utter bewilderment and fear shone through in little Anna but she was able to talk herself into a story that balanced everything out.
Using a rock to work a point on a stick to attack the "big black dog" when it returned showed her ability to understand that she and Sticky were in trouble. She was going to be the Princess of the land and slay the dragon so to speak.
The novel was heartbreaking, heartpounding and I white-knuckled every page from beginning to end. At times I actually found myself holding my breath.
Claire Cameron is a phenomenal author with the capacity to crawl into the mind of a five-year-old and tell a heartbreaking story as if you were sitting across the table from the child listening to her tell you the story herself. Just absolutely remarkable and a highly, highly recommended read. I read the entire book in one evening. My hands were so tightly clutched to the book, that I couldn't have put it down even if I'd wanted too. This is a novel everyone should read, both young adult and adults. The voice of Anna is going to stay with you long after the last page has been turned.
I can see why now some other reviewers are calling this The Room of 2014.