The Week: 10th – 16th February

Gracie Gold USA Figure Skating Team Free Skate Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

Gracie Gold

It was a bit of an odd week as far as reading went. I finished a couple of Regency romances, read an excellent upcoming Sarah Mayberry book. I’m feeling a little restless – I keep browsing the review books on NetGalley, looking for whatever it is I’m in the mood for, but I haven’t figured it out yet!

Is this the first time the Winter Olympics turned into the Summer Olympics?

Sochi has been 18°C (64.4°F) for a few days now! What a strange mess of an Olympics this has been.

Here is a great series of images outlining why the Opening Ceremony was so incredibly offensive – particularly to Ukrainians. Even if The Huffington Post does call Kyiv by the Russian name, Kiev! I was also hugely annoyed that Sochi used so many Ukrainians past and present to represent “Russia”…

Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony 2014

My review of Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

My review of The Bear by Claire Cameron

The Bear by Claire Cameron

My review of Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

My review of A 1950s Housewife by Sheila Hardy

A 1950s Housewife by Sheila Hardy

The Bear by Claire Cameron

The Bear by Claire Cameron

While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of her mother screaming. A rogue black bear, three hundred pounds of fury, is attacking the family’s campsite — and pouncing on her parents as prey.

At her dying mother’s faint urging, Anna manages to get her brother into the family’s canoe and paddle away. But when the canoe runs aground on the edge of the woods, the sister and brother must battle hunger, the elements, and a wilderness alive with danger. Lost and completely alone, they find that their only hope resides in Anna’s heartbreaking love for her family, and her struggle to be brave when nothing in her world seems safe anymore.

This is a story with a small narrator and a big heart. Cameron gracefully plumbs Anna’s young perspective on family, responsibility, and hope, charting both a tragically premature loss of innocence and a startling evolution as Anna reasons through the impossible situations that confront her.

Lean and confident, and told in the innocent and honest voice of a five-year-old, THE BEAR is a transporting tale of loss — but also a poignant and surprisingly funny adventure about love and the raw instincts that enable us to survive.

The Bear: A Novel by Claire Cameron

After reading this book I decided that nobody ever, EVER again gets to joke about the dangerous creatures in Australia! The Bear is – disturbingly – based on a true story, though the children are a fictional addition.

I’m a squeamish person, and even though I really wanted to read this book, I wasn’t sure I’d cope with it very well. No way did I want to read about two adults being eaten by a bear, but then… I also sort of did…

Is this book gruesome? I’m guessing most people will say it isn’t, but for me it was pushing it. I think the thing that really helped was that the story is told from the perspective of a five-year-old girl who can’t properly comprehend what is happening. The yuckiest parts are told with some confusion around them, told sort of vaguely. Of course your adult mind is going to put two and two together, but I coped!

It’s incredibly ambitious of the author to write from such a difficult point of view. I actually didn’t think I was going to get through it at first because it takes you a few pages to adjust to a child’s voice and a child’s thought process. I think she pulled it off, though, and I ended up thinking it was pretty damn clever.

The interaction between sister and little brother seemed realistic to me; these are very small children. I did read a review that said it was a good thing it was a short book because it would have been hard to reach much more from the child’s perspective, and I’d agree with that. However, I also don’t think there needed to be more – it would have lessened the impact of the story.

Was The Bear worth reading? I’d say yes. It creeped me out, but I’m glad I managed to read it.

Review copy provided by NetGalley.