Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Touching Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, #1)

Touching Spirit Bear

By Ben Mikaelsen

Blurb: Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life.

Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart Cole blames his alcoholic mom his, abusive dad, wimpy Alex--everyone but himself for his situation.

Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by Mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for his death His thoughts shift from from Anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.

Ben Mikaelsen paints a vivid picture of a juvenile offender, examining the roots without absolving solving him of responsibility for his actions, and questioning a society in which angry people make victims of their peers and communities. Touching Spirit Bear is a poignant testimonial to the power of a pain that can destroy, or lead to healing.
 
Published: 2001
 
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction (Yeah, I realise that makes no sense. It's hard to understand unless you read the book.)
 
Series: Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson (Book 1)
 
My Rating: 4.5 stars
 
So...this book made me realize something. I have an obsession with survivalist stories. Am I the only person that didn't know this was a genre? I would just call them 'books like Hatchet'. And now I'm really excited to learn that there are so many books like this.

Yeah, his book was a bit like Hatchet, but I actually liked this better. For starters, I loved the transition of Cole's character. He starts off as a total jerk/sociopath(he's in jail because he beat up a kid named Peter to the point where Peter might have permenant brain damage) to this reformed and, for lack of a better word, nicer boy.

I did feel bad for Cole, though. At the beginning, he is a total psycho, but there's a reason. His father is abusive and both of his parents are alcoholics. In short, his home life sucks.

Another thing I liked about this book was the Circle Justice, which I had never heard of before and found extremely interesting. It really is fascinating to read about!

The ending was such a surprise. I didn't expect that (yeah, that's about as specific as I'll get, sorry) to happen! I know this whole paragraph sounds extremely vague, but I don't want to ruin the whole book for people.

There is one more thing I should probably mention. I don't really know if I would call this a fantasy. The blurb makes the book sound like it, but it's really not. When I first picked up the book, I thought it would be an actual ghost bear, but the bear is alive and pretty much a normal bear. The only reason the bear is unique is that it's not supposed to inhabit the island Cole is spending his Circle Justice Punishment on. It's a bit fantastical, but only a teensy bit, in my opinion.

If you are thinking about reading this, go for it! I could not get enough of this book.

P.S. My book was signed by Ben Michaelson! Not to me, but to whoever owned it before (this was a secondhand book). Still...PRETTY COOL!

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