‘Gruesome, unsettling, horrific’ – The Bear by Claire Cameron

The Bear jacketIt’s been a long time since I read a book like The Bear by Claire Cameron. By chapter three, my heart was in my mouth; by chapter eight I was weeping and drinking hot, sweet tea as I went through a box of tissues. I should mention that the chapters are fairly short.

This is the story of a Canadian family that goes camping in the wild, mum, dad, their five-year-old daughter and their two-year-old son. It is told from the perspective of the girl, Anna, who fails to understand why her mother screams one night, and why her father shoves her into their food box with her brother, Stick.

There is so much poignancy as the story unfolds. We, the reader, with our adult perspective, know what’s going on through the confused descriptions of Anna. We know it’s not a black dog but a bear that sniffs Anna and her brother through the crack in the box. We know why her mother tells Anna to get in the boat with her brother.

This is a story that will tug at even the most hardened of hearts as the children’s innocence, their lack of understanding of the situation as they struggle to survive in a Canadian forest. Anna is a capable girl; she has watched her parents over the years and has basic skills that help her and her brother survive.

They constantly look out for their parents, waiting for them to arrive and rescue them.

Anna and Stick are found, but the journey stays with them as they try to settle back into the world.

Read this book in one, you won’t want to put it down.

Any Cop?: It’s gruesome, unsettling, horrific and you’ll probably cry, but it’s definitely worth it.

Claire Snook

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