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The Bear

3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,026 Ratings  ·  1,092 Reviews
A powerfully suspenseful story narrated by a young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a brutal bear attack.

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, 300 pounds of fury, is attacking the family's campsite, pouncing on her parents as prey.

At her d
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2014)
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Becca (Pretty Little Memoirs) I think it would be hard to relate to a 2 and 5 year old, but I felt their emotions and struggle and I think that's what the story was all about.…moreI think it would be hard to relate to a 2 and 5 year old, but I felt their emotions and struggle and I think that's what the story was all about. Anna's love for her parents. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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this was the perfect book to read directly after Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, which had a huge chapter about death by bears in yellowstone and how to (hopefully) avoid being killed by them. in the author's note of the bear, cameron says that her inspiration for this novel was the true story of raymond jakubauskas and carola frehe, who were killed by a bear on Bates Island on Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park, nearly three thousand miles of wilderness ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book. I was SO excited to read it, so glad that I was approved for an ARC from NetGalley (and thank you, Net Galley, for supplying me with it!), but I just couldn't love it.

The story itself is terrifying and emotional and original. And the writing, in terms of form, is fine. My issue is with the narration and that I couldn't believe it.

As a children's librarian, I'm around a lot of kids, all ages, 0-18. The kids I'm around the most are between the ages of 2 and 6, the age

Child narrators under the age of 10 are tricky to say the least. It can be so easily flubbed and come off as gimmicky or inauthentic. Mostly, I'm not a fan. Louis CK's rant about children and their secrets beautifully sums up the why for me.

So this book, with its five-year old narrator Anna, is going to fail or succeed depending on your acceptance of the childish, stream-of-consciousness storytelling style. Anna is in the grips of some nasty peril after just losing both her parents to a bear ma
Dec 03, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've held off reviewing this for a few days to get a little distance. The book, at certain points, had me shaking with anxiety. And now I'm not quite sure when I'll be emotionally prepared take my son camping for fear of bears or dingoes or anything else.

The story involves 5-year-old Anna and her 2-year-old brother Alex ('Stick'). Thanks to their father's quick thinking, they survive a bear attack, but the parents don't fare so well. The rest of the story is their journey back.

Anna narrates the
Dan Radovich
Jul 01, 2013 Dan Radovich rated it it was amazing
The comparison to ROOM will be made to Cameron's THE BEAR - and it is well deserved. The storyteller is 5 year old Anna, telling the tale of escape from a huge black bear. Her parents saved her and her 2 year old brother; Momma telling Anna to canoe away from the island. Her voice is so believable, a 5 year old little girl IS speaking to you. Powerful, unsettling at times; I needed to break from reading. She mixes the terror with bits or wonder and humor, a perfect blend. The opening section is ...more
Michelle H
Feb 03, 2014 Michelle H rated it it was ok
Hmmm, I think I have to wait a bit to review this one. Have to think about it first. From

Ah, shit. This one’s gonna be all nature-y and survivalish. Totally not my kind of book at all, except FREE****, so there’s that.

I KNOW everyone on the internet (weird, since this is a pre-release and yet so many have already read it) seems to love this book after they’ve finished. And maybe it’s just me being contrary (which is sort of likely to happen, actually), but I don’t think I l
Cathe Olson
Mar 24, 2015 Cathe Olson rated it it was ok
5-year-old Anna and her 3-year-old brother Alex (Stick) survive a bear attack during a family camping trip. Anna tries to keep them alive and safe after their parents are killed.

This book was narrated by Anna. While I applaud the author for taking on this ambitious point-of-view, the voice of this character did not work for me. Anna narrated more like a 3-year-old than a child who is almost six. Not only didn't it ring true, but it was annoying and confusing. The story itself was kind of a let
Jan 24, 2014 Kiki rated it it was amazing
(This is from an electronic advanced reader copy from Netgalley, via the publisher. This book will be on sale February 11, 2014.)

I guess I need to start by addressing my strange and urgent need to to read this novel. I saw a blurb and a link to Ms. Cameron's website for this book somewhere on my daily literary travels on the internet, and just felt a desire to obtain and read a copy of this book immediately. Something about a wild animal/predatory attack on a human has always fascinated me and c
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 18, 2014 Luanne Ollivier rated it it was amazing
I love to read. And I read a lot. I only choose books I know I'm going to enjoy. But every so often, there's that book that goes beyond that enjoyment feeling - one that absolutely grabs you, has you tingling with anticipation knowing there's an amazing story just waiting within the pages, one that you can't wait to tell others about.

Well, I'm telling you - The Bear by Claire Cameron is one of those books. I literally could not put it down. Twenty pages in, I just knew I wasn't going to bed ear
May 22, 2014 Margarita rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Execution doesn't quite live up to conceptualization in this novel. The premise is interesting enough – A bear attack leaves two young children, ages 3 and 5, fending for themselves in the thick of Algonquin. What doesn't work is the 5 year old narrator. Although it is very ambitious to tell a full story through the eyes of a 5 year old, it is also very risky. Cameron fails to hit the mark. She has trouble with her 'adult-speak' vs. 'kids-speak'. Anna, our narrator, is inconsistent with the thin ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was ok
When I read an outline of the plot it was a book I was anxious to read.. Reviews were mainly positive, and it contained elements of suspense, horror and survival against great odds. It has been compared with The Room, a book I didn't like as much as many readers and critics. Both books are narrated by 5 year olds, but I found the boy's voice in The Room much more believable, and which kept me interested and the story moving along at a good pace. I did not find Anna's narration believable. The a ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Cynthia rated it liked it
It’s hard to read “The Bear” without thinking of Donohue’s “Room”. Like Donoghue’s 2010 Booker nominated book Cameron’s tale is told by a young child, about 5 or 6 years old, and it’s told in first person present tense. Though I appreciate the novelty of this approach and recognize the skill it takes to accomplish such a feat in “The Bear” it came across as self conscious. Because of the age of the narrator there’s also an inherent danger of over simplicity. Because of the narrator’s, Anna, lack ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
More like 3.5 stars

At the beginning of this book the author tells you that this book has happened. It just didn't involve the children. That puts in the back of your mind what can happen with bears.
The story is from the point of view of 5 year old Anna. Her parents are attacked by a bear on the family camping trip. Her father puts her and her 2 year old brother "Stick" into Coleman (the family's cooler) when the bear attacks and it saves their lives.
The author does a wonderful job of putting you
Kelley  C
Feb 03, 2014 Kelley C rated it really liked it
So...I finished The Bear a few days ago, and I'm STILL not sure whether I liked it or not. Well, I did enjoy it, but I guess I'm wondering if I can classify it as A Great Book. I'm leaning toward yes, because I can't really find many faults with it.

First of all, the first 40 pages or so show the bear attack. Everyone in our book club, including me, had a hard time with this section. Emails were flying around to the effect of "I can't do this anymore, it's too scary, I quit this book." It was rou
May 10, 2014 Laura rated it did not like it
Did not buy into the 5 yr old narrator, her voice worked my nerves over. Plot seemed like it could be haunting but I all I could think about was finishing the book. Which was difficult bc I wanted to abandon the book pretty much from the start.
Katy Noyes
Mar 03, 2014 Katy Noyes rated it really liked it
At the time of writing, there are 4 reviews of this book on Amazon. Two award it 5 stars, the other two give it just 1 star. So why is it polarising readers?

If you've read 'Room', you'll know about child narrators. Like 'Room', 'The Bear' sticks with a five year old's perspective of horrific circumstances for its entirety, barring an epilogue. Anna and her nearly-three-year-old brother Alex (known as Stick) are camping with their parents on an island when a bear attacks them one night. It isn't
Sep 03, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Reading this evoked a whole new level of fear in me as a parent. What would happen to your child in the immediate aftermath of a deadly accident? If you were with your small child in an isolated area and you were killed what would happen to your child? My son is the same age as Stick (almost 3) so this story really struck me on a deep emotional level.

Written entirely from the perspective of a 5-year-old it was difficult at first to get into it due to Anna's meandering thoughts and observations.
Jan 23, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, netgalley
Based on the true story of a couple killed by a bear in Canada’s Algonquin Park, the author has pondered on what may have happened if the unfortunate couple had small children with them. Anna and her brother Alex (known as Stick because of his ever present sticky hands) are used to canoeing, camping and hiking with their parents, so when Anna hears strange noises and her parents frightened yelling, she knows something is wrong. Her father has the presence of mind to place the children inside the ...more
Debra Komar
May 12, 2014 Debra Komar rated it did not like it
I hated this book, although to be fair I hate all books narrated by children (and I am including "The Room" in that category as well, although at least in that book, there were other voices to temper it a bit). My problem, oddly enough, is not with the author, who seems quite talented. I want to read her first book (hopefully not written from the point of view of a child). I don't know why authors keep trying this device. I wouldn't want to read 200+ pages actually written by a 5-year-old and I ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Ruthie rated it really liked it
Not a fun read - in fact I read the first half while holding my breath, but quite a trip! The novel is narrated by a five year old girl. The story is based on a true event where a young couple camping in a provincial park was killed by a rogue bear. The author had been a summer camp counsellor nearby and has written a story based on that event, adding two young children to the family.

The gore is kept to a minimum and the real story is how this five year girl old and her two year old brother sur
Mar 06, 2014 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this on a GoodReads giveaway, but when it arrived in the mail, I read the back cover and it looked so uninteresting that I gave it to my aunt to read. Full disclosure: I don't like books that are narrated by children. I find the narrative voice annoying and a little condescending. I also have an unprecedented aversion to books that have anything stereotypically Canadian about them. So, a black bear attack? No siree, no thank you.

Here is my aunt's review, in full, delivered to me by text:

Mar 31, 2014 Sandie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
While some readers complained that the narrative was too complex for a five year old I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to read a book by a real five year old. I loved the juxtaposition of the real danger they were in with the thought process of Anna and her mixed feelings for her brother and responsibiliy she had for him. I felt the second part of the book was particularly moving and truthful from a child's perspective. I haven't read Room and am not inclined to given the subject matter but I do l ...more
Maureen Petrosky
Jan 20, 2015 Maureen Petrosky rated it did not like it
If you like stream of consciousness from a five-year-old, you'll love it.
Jan 26, 2014 Mandy rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because I was genuinely interested in reading the book.

That said, I wasn't crazy about this book for the same reason I wasn't crazy about The Room. I wouldn't say that the two books are necessarily comparable; but I can say that I'm not particularly fond of narration from a 5 yr old's perspective. Sure, it's interesting. But I happen to have a just-turned-6-yr-old, so it was distracting to keep thinking, "Would she have done that?
Feb 01, 2015 Kandice rated it did not like it
I have gone back to this over and over between other things I am reading and simply cannot make myself read to the end. I got 74% finished according to my Nook and I feel that is more than enough of a chance.

I may read a page or two at a time when I am feeling generous just to find the resolution, but don't feel the book deserves more than that from me.
Jul 21, 2013 Elise rated it liked it
The idea of a tale of survival through the eyes of a 5 year old is intriguing and should deservedly create attention. However, I felt this story meandered too much and translating the narrator's meaning took more effort than I wanted to give. The opening scenes are gripping and -pardon the twisted pun-easily devoured by the reader. As the story progresses I couldn't tell if I was reading about a few days or longer or what the backstory was on younger brother Stick.
The book does have merit for d
May 27, 2015 tinabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was truly a rollercoaster ride of emotion, and I felt it all — disturbed, anxious, heart-broken, empathetic, scared (for the characters, obviously not for myself, though I might feel differently if I ever go camping in Algonquin).

I was a bit unsure about reading this book given that the narrator is a five-year-old, but once you get into the rhythm of the story, it was not a hindrance at all to the reading. In fact, it was kind of refreshing in that there was no pretension, just a scar
Mar 26, 2016 Jana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well, this was heart-wrenching.
Feb 24, 2014 Becki rated it liked it
It took me quite awhile to get into this book. It took me even longer to get passed the 5 year story telling perspective. Once I wrapped my brain around the beginning of the book and who was now telling the story, I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened and if the children ended up to be okay and safe.

There were many reasons why the mom and dad were not my favorite characters. But so much of the story was left to my imagination, that maybe I'm wrong. I could paint them terrible, bu
Jul 05, 2014 Licha rated it did not like it
I did not think I would be able to finish this book, but last night I stayed up and finished it up simply from the curiosity to see how this would end. I had a hard time reading this due to the narrator's voice. The story is told through Anna, a 6yr. old girl who's parents have just been savagely killed by a bear as Anna and her 2yr. old brother are sleeping in their tent. Somehow, their father manages to hide them inside a cooler, thus ensuring their safety, at least for the time being.

Anna ne
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