Adult books told from the perspective of a young child aren't generally my thing, I've read a couple including the renowned Room, but The Bear by Claire Cameron is actually the first one I've loved. Even better? It's Canadian.
The Bear is told form the perspective of 5-year-old Anna, who is camping in the Canadian wilderness with her parents and younger brother, when a bear attacks. Thanks to some quick-thinking by her parents, Anna and her brother survive, but both of her parents are killed. Alone, confused, and responsible for her brother, Anna must survive the wilderness and get her brother and her to safety.
It's obvious from the story description, but this is a heartbreaking book. From the first page I was holding my breath, anxious about what would happen left. As soon as Anna let her brother out of her sight for a second, I was so nervous. That said, this isn't a story with much plot-- it's really a stream-of-consciousness type experience that's not linear, as Anna wanders the woods and thinks about things that have happened before. Despite the lack of "excitement" after the initial bear attack, Cameron had no issues at all keeping my attention with The Bear. I was just totally taken in by Anna's voice and turning the pages hoping that things worked out for her. I also appreciate that this book wasn't incredibly long, because as much as I enjoyed the narrative voice, I don't really want to read 500+ pages that way either. However, The Bear is just long enough to tell the story, and tell it well, without losing my attention.
Overall, I was a huge fan of The Bear and I think Cameron did an amazing job realistically capturing both the Ontario wilderness and the voice of a 5-year-old while still having enough depth to the story to keep an adult reader interested. If you can handle the storyline, this is a book I highly recommend.
Release Date: February 11th, 2014 Pages: 240 Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher Publisher: Doubleday Canada Buy It: Book Depository