Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Bear by Claire Cameron

My thanks go to Random House for providing me with this review copy.

Synopsis (from official press release + Goodreads)

Pages: 280
Publisher: Vintage (Random House)  
Released: 6th of November 2014

Mummy never yells. Mostly not ever. Except sometimes.

Anna is five. Her little brother, Stick, is almost three. They are camping with their parents in Algonquin Park, in three thousand square miles of wilderness. It's the perfect family trip. But then Anna awakes in the night to the sound of something moving in the shadows. Her father is terrified. Her mother is screaming. Then, silence.

Alone in the woods, it is Anna who has to look after Stick, battling hunger and the elements to stay alive. Narrated by Anna, this is white-knuckle storytelling that captures the fear, wonder and bewilderment of our worst nightmares – and the power of one girl’s enduring love for her family.

What I Have to Say 

This book read like it was trying far to hard to be My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. What the author was trying to do was fair enough, but I don't think it worked. I'm not convinced that a five-year-old wouldn't know what pins and needles felt like. I'm sure she would have experienced that before and her mother would have told her what it was. But no. Apparently not. 

Also, it was really, really annoying when she went off on a tangent, more accurate for a five year old, but not so much fun for the reader who is having to read through a story that's already been told a few times. Maybe five is too young to be a 1st person narrator. It would at least have to be better written than this to work. 

The only good thing I can really say about this book was the way it portrayed Anna's trauma. It's only in the final bit of the book, but it really shows how trauma, especially in one so young can be hidden beyond the knowledge of the person and only show in outside signs. 

I don't really recommend this book, but if you are interested in trauma in children then it might be interesting in that respect. 

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