Monday, December 2, 2013


By Ben Mikaelsen
Published by Harper Collins
Copyright ©2001
Review by Anthony Kendrick

“How would you feel if a Bear made its den beside a stream?”

      “I’d kill it.”

“Animals feel the same way. Don’t forget that.”

Cole Matthews will never be able to forget that, after his experience with a spirit bear.

Cole is an angry young man; he lashes out at whatever or whoever is around him when his anger bubbles over. This time Cole goes too far and beats a young man, Peter Driscoll, so badly that he may have permanent brain damage. Cole is in big trouble, a motion is being filed to try him as an adult. When he 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,” Cole jumps at the chance to be bailed out of trouble one more time. As part of his circle justice sentence he is sent half way across the country to a remote Alaskan island where he will be tasked with coming to terms with his anger and making amends for his errors. Before he can do any of that he comes face to face with the Spirit Bear and his life will never be the same.

“Touching Spirit Bear” is a survival book, but it is also a book about redemption and responsibility. Cole certainly has reasons for all of his anger but instead of getting help to deal with his anger he lashes out, and then he blames everyone else. I really appreciated how the book shows that the long road to redemption and rehabilitation begins with you. The focus is what Cole did with is anger, not why he was angry. He could roll his anger down the hill or he could hold it in and feed on it.

Ben Mikaelson has written a fantastic book, and I understand now why our Language arts teachers use it in their curriculum. If you can’t wait till that class to read this book, then come to the library and check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment