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The Bear

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  6,877 ratings  ·  1,388 reviews
The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws. Anna 5 narrates escape with brother 'Stick' 2 when 300-pound black bear devours parents camping, Algonquin Park fall 1991 (true exc ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published 2014 by Penguin Random House Doubleday
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Silver I was a bit baffled and put off by her inability to identify the bear as well but it does seem she had a very narrow/literal way of identifying and…moreI was a bit baffled and put off by her inability to identify the bear as well but it does seem she had a very narrow/literal way of identifying and recognizing animals. As others mentioned the moose. In her mind she did not understand it to be a moose because she “knew” moose have antlers and the animal they saw did not have antlers so for her it could not be a moose.

In her personal experience bears were brown and dogs were black. When she saw the bear it did not look the way she expected bears to look so she did not identify it as a bear. In an effort to understand it ad something familiar to her she saw it as a dog because in the first glimpse she had of it it reminded her of a dog she knew. That idea of it being a dog than just stuck in her head. (less)

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3.33  · 
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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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Elyse Walters
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the true story of when a couple was attacked by a bear and killed on Bates Island on Lake Opeongo in Algonquin Park- two hundred miles northeast of Toronto- in 1991. There was a lot of mystery around the reason for the attack — which I felt was worthy of a story itself. Given all the facts of what investigators gathered- there was never ever any ‘clear’ reason to explain why the couple ‘was’ attacked —
what the author did with this story is ‘add’ small children to tell a story of

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
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, canada
I didn't like this.
Child narrators are hard to get right, I just didn't enjoy it.
Got bored with all the flashbacks, skimmed over a lot. Found it annoying and distracting.
5 years old was maybe just too young a narrator for me to get into.
Ruby Granger
After witnessing the aftermath of a bear attack on their parents after camping in Algonquin Park, Anna (5) and Stick (2) are told to get onto the canoe and escape. This is a haunting and yet beautiful story about Anna's love and instinctive protection for her brother. Cameron also explores the mental anguish which would surely follow such an incident in such a young child, using the broken, childish narrative of Anna to try and understand what is happening.
Michelle H
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
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
Nov 25, 2013 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
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 12, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(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
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 ☆ Holy cow.. this book is based off a true story that happened at Algonquin Park, in Ontario, Canada.
Bear was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the rollercoaster ride of emotion I felt.. so good but oh so painful to read. I don’t know how many times while reading I thought of my own little ones, the what if’s.. all as told by a believable Anna age 5.. so heartbreaking but genius to use a child’s voice!
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Feb 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kelley  C
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Debra Komar
May 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katy Noyes
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2013
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well, this was heart-wrenching.
Maureen Petrosky
Jan 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you like stream of consciousness from a five-year-old, you'll love it.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, favourites, can-con
In the preface to The Bear, Claire Cameron tells of a rare fatal bear attack that took place in 1991 in Algonquin Park, north of Toronto. Despite taking all the necessary precautions, and also later discovering that the bear wasn't sick or starving and that the couple had vigorously fought back, two people were killed and eaten by a rogue black bear. Cameron was a camp counsellor at Algonquin at the time and based this story on both her memories of the event and later research, adding a couple o ...more
Robert Pearson
There is Henry James style gets in the way of the narrative, and then there is this book. Ostensibly written from the perspective of a five year old tending to her younger brother in the aftermath of both parents being killed by a bear, it too often felt like a gimmick.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Author of The Last Neanderthal (April 2017), The Bear and The Line Painter.

I am 2.5% Neanderthal, according to the 23 and Me DNA test. I have a gold tooth.
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