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Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Live and Love Again after Being Blinded by a Bear
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Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Live and Love Again after Being Blinded by a Bear

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  588 ratings  ·  128 reviews
The unbelievable true story of a man who narrowly survived one of the most brutal grizzly bear attacks, and the love that separated his blindness from the dark.

A 25-year-old backcountry wanderer, a man happiest exploring wild places with his dog, Dan Bigley woke up one midsummer morning to a day full of promise. Before it was over, after a stellar day of salmon fishing a
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  588 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, library, memoir
I have a soft spot in my heart for bears: my name means “Little Bear” in Latin and is what my deceased father coined as a nickname. I had a dog growing up named Bear and live in California – a state with a bear on its flag. However, that love begs to be replaced by fear after reading “Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Love and Live Again after Being Blinded by a Bear” by Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney.

With a rather self-explanatory title, “Beyond the Bear” is a true-story of Dan Bigley, a man wh
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Honesty compells me to admit that I probably would never have read this book if it had not been for a challenge to find and read a book by an author that was born in my home town.

I might have seen the book at my home town library, but I am not sure if I would have picked it up to read it although I do admit, the title would have caught my eye. If it had, I can say that I probably would have picked it up and taken it home to read.

I don't have to worry about it now. I read it! Wow, what a story!
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Too often, real-life, inspirational books just aren't very well written. This book is an exception. It's a great read not only for the amazing story but for the way it's crafted. I especially loved the descriptions of Alaska and his love of nature, as well as the powerful story of how he learned how to navigate the world blind (and disfigured).

Damn, if a guy who got his face mauled by a bear--and as a result went blind--can life a full life, there's no excuses for the rest of us.

Favorite quotes:
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! The beautiful descriptions of Alaska were so good that they reminded me how it FEELS to be there. So the setting made me feel like I was breathing clean, cool, thin summer air on a bright sunny day... I was smiling to be a part of it. Then the tragic events took place and my heart went up into my throat. Unsuccessfully trying to hold back tears, I FELT the fear... the agony... the uncertainty... in a way I've never felt reading a book about someone else's experien ...more
As far as memoirs go this one is pretty amazing. I normally don't really enjoy them so much, because they feel false or too extreme. This felt more real, Dan is a real guy who got slammed with some incredibly terrible luck and eventually came out ok. I loved that Dan talked about how difficult it was to heal and that even with the best attitude you don't have a happy ending over night. I like when people are honest about their pain and challenges, but not too woe is me.

I liked that the book too
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dan Bigley's story is incredible and Debra McKinney's writing is amazing--the two together create one phenomenal memoir. I was glued to the book the moment I got it, finishing it in two sittings and only putting it down to sleep. I was breathless to know what happened, and both laughed and cried countless times as I whipped through the pages. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys love stories, survival stories, natures stories, inspirational stories... basically, anybody. There is so much o ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Beyond the Bear is a bit... shocking. Or at least the first hundred pages left me wishing that I hadn't decided to read it right before bed, or during my lunch break. (In fact, one day I determined my lunch break was over because I had reached a point in the book where I could not have continued reading and eating at the same time.)

I shouldn't have been surprised. The book's subject matter is right in the title, and a more detailed description is available in the summary on the book jacket. I kn
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, memoir, non-fiction
I went to Alaska fairly recently and before I went I had a ton of people tease me about getting eaten by a bear. One of my co-workers lent me this book after I had gone to Alaska and I have to say that I was very happy that I read this book after I went on my trip. I would have been absolutely terrified! This book is the memoir of Dan Bigley, a gentleman who was attacked by a bear and was lucky to be alive afterwards. I love memoirs that show courage in the face of adversity and this book defini ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been impatiently waiting for this book since I heard about it last summer. Once I opened the book I couldn't put it down until I finished. I feel as if a tornado has picked me up, twirled me around and plastered me along side of a barn spread eagle, with my mouth hanging open. Although the book was initiated by a bear mauling in Alaska, this story should by no means be meant only for Alaskans, outdoor enthusiasts, or folks who have experienced horrific accidents - it is for all of mankind ...more
Maudeen Wachsmith
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this great book! I'd give it 10 stars if that was an option! What a great story, and told so well by Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney. I bothered my husband who was reading something else,so much I think he got irritated by my reading so many great passages to him. There came a time when I couldn't read him passages out loud because I couldn't speak without crying. The times that touched me most weren't when Dan was injured, nor was it when he was in the hospital and told he was bli ...more
Jeff Fair
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic story--at once heart-rending and heartening. Dan's dedication to life and his rise out of darkness carries triumph, love, and inspiration, and Amber's story is just as poignant and heroic. I knew McKinney was a great writer from her features at the Anchorage Daily News, but here she proves herself a masterful storyteller in book-length. Once I started it, I could not put it down. It is a great read and a page-turner through to the end. Inspiring story, masterfully told.

Jeff Fair, au
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Bear was a heart felt recount displaying the courage, friendship, and love that a person needs to survive a catastrophic bear attack. Dan Bigley, had all of those in his favor.

So many of these tales are filled with the sensationalism of the particulars of the attack itself. This book certainly lends some time to the attack, but devotes itself to the rescue and recovery. This gives the reader a more intimate view into how difficult this must have been to overcome.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From the Prologue to the final chapter I could not put this book down. The book is an insight into the human spirit and the strength of one man to continue living a full life despite having his face torn apart by a huge grizzly bear. The romance between Dan and Amber kept me on the edge of my seat, hoping that it would all work out for the best.

I just love this book and carry it inside me to remind me to act with grace and perseverance no matter what life throws at me. A fantastic book.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are some lines that stick with you and for me, the introduction to this book which tells the story of Dan Bigley, who survived a horrific bear attack after fishing in Alaska, has some of those moments and lines.

This book, while starting with moments one hopes never to experience, leads to an amazing story of the human spirit and its ability to triumph over what at times appear to be insurmountable odds and obstacles.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gripping and inspiring!

"Because I have made a full, rich life for myself, people respond to me like I’m something special. I just do what I have to do. The alternative would be to live in a straitjacket of misery. Life isn’t too short to live that way, life is too long. The same spirit and will that kept me going at the Russian River keeps me going today. The bear took my face and eyes, not my dignity, and not my ability to dream, and dream large."
Pam Watson
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful love story. It shows the best of love of family, love of friends, love of nature and most of all, love of life. It is an amazing story of survival, even thriving in response to tragedy. Loved, loved, loved this story and this book.
Michele A.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads givieaway and had someone read it to me. This is a book filled with a great human spirit of ablilty to deal with a tragic experience. Sometimes the human heart and will is amazing in what it can push through. Definitly a book to read.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Perfect combo of the fly fishing and surgery :)
Anne Egbert
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting story. I am liking the Homer library 15 in '16 reading list.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding story! Copies of this book are going to be given out as Christmas presents this year!
Nat Schaefer
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
There were many things that irritated me about this book. First and foremost, I'm not super huge on inspirational books that being said, the first thing that annoyed me ws the fact that I didn't feel that Dan was all that hapy of an individual. It omly seemed like he was happy when things were good with him and Amber. I felt like a lot of the book was showing his emotions, as far as "Does she like me"?
The book didn't focus all that much on what Dan did in the school, after being blind. And who
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alaska, memoirs
Dan Bigley is a truly awesome individual! This book provided me with a much-needed reminder that there are people in this world with REAL problems and, thankfully, I'm not one of them! Whenever I feel like complaining about something now, I think of this book, and then my new motto, "Count Your Blessings - and shut the f--- up already!"
Hope McCain
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t read a nonfiction story so captivating in a LONG time. I could hardly put this one down. Dan Bigley is incredible, though I hardly feel such a statement does him justice. I literally felt every single emotion under the sun while reading this book. Very amazing.
Patrick Brown
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story shows that you should never give up on life no matter what the situation is. Dan saw life in a different view after his incident. He viewed life in a higher value. Dan has accomplished so much already and is looking to do more.
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the first nonfiction book I have read in a long time and I enjoyed it. Some parts of the attack and his injuries were very descriptive so I had to put the book down when I was reading during lunch! But I admire Dan and am glad he shared his story with us.
Glenn Hammer
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
good story and well writen
Michelle  Hall
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible memoir. Dan's story is so honest and inspiring, and now I'm even more terrified of bears!!
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really liked this book - amazing story of a man who could have so easily given up at many different turns in his life. Also loved that the kindle version had pictures too.
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story about the total devastation and horrific experience Dan Bigley had and how he worked (extremely hard and with a LOT of support, help, love and resources) to accept it and grow from it. Fast read and held my attention the entire time.
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Before the bear, with a degree in natural history from Arizona‚’s Prescott College, I’d landed the most challenging and rewarding job I’d ever had, taking severely emotionally disturbed children on recreational outings for Alaska Children’s Services. After the bear, I got a master’s degree in social work from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. I’m now director of therapeutic foster care for Denal ...more