Claire Cameron || The Bear

A couple goes camping in Algonquin Park (Canada) and is killed by a black bear. Their remains are found a few days later. Claire Cameron used this true story for her novel The Bear and added two children to the equation. In her novel she does not ask ‘why did the bear kill Anna’s and Sticky’s parents?’, she concentrates on the emotions and actions of a five-year old confronted with an extremely difficult situation. Anna’s mother, who has been severely wounded by the bear and knows that she can no longer escape, tells her daughter to take her brother and flee with the canoe they used to get to their camping space. Anna obeys in the end but before she does Cameron takes us along in the workings of a young mind: Anna’s doubts about leaving her mother, her pride in being given this important task, her fear about her leaving her parents or not doing things right, her concern that her parents might be angry with her and her difficulty in persuading her younger brother to get into the canoe. Being a five-year old all of these things pass quickly and incoherently. Anna is not a trained ranger who can set out a line of decisive actions, she is a child and acts on the spur of the moment. Anna manages to escape with her brother and flees to the mainland. On the mainland they are confronted with hunger, pain, cold, fear and anger. Anna being a five-year old is often annoyed with her younger brother and confronts him with her own fears. At the same time she is worried sick when she cannot find her brother. Cameron manages to transport us into the mind of Anna, we live with her fears and hopes. To the reader it is clear that her parents are dead; Anna herself tells us that she sees the bear eating meat with her father’s shoe on it. She cannot grap what she is seeing, the reader knows it too well. As a reader you do worry that Anna and Sticky will be found in time, that they will survive. When they started eating berries I could feel myself recoil and thinking ‘no, what if they are poisonous’.  The Bear might not be the best book I’ve read these past few months, it is definitely worth a read. Anna is a convincing main character and her story is chilling and warming at the same time.

Bear

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About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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