Review: Emory’s Gift

Posted on July 21, 2011

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Emory’s Gift

By W. Bruce Cameron
Forge Books
August 2011
368 pages

Emory’s Gift is an extraordinary story about a boy and a grizzly bear. At age thirteen, Charlie Hall’s life is in shambles. He watched his mother die a long, slow death from cancer, his dad is depressed, and he dreads the eighth grade. Charlie finds refuge from the despair and embarrassment of his life in the natural world that surrounds their isolated property in northern Idaho. One day while trout fishing in the creek Charlie is stalked by a hungry mountain lion when a grizzly bear comes to his rescue and changes his life forever. Much about the peculiar bear is mysterious. For instance he has a name, Emory. Even so, the relationship between him and Charlie comes across as authentic. Emory allows Charlie to be near him as long as he respects his space and feeds him, otherwise he ignores him. For the most part, he behaves like a bear. But Emory is a grizzly bear, which creates all the utter mayhem and anxious suspense of a loaded gun as the story unfolds. At any moment, everyone – including Charlie – expects him to act like a grizzly bear.

Cameron’s witty and angst-ridden style reads easily and enticingly, like a memoir. Even though this is fiction, it contains a taste of magical realism so seductive it made me wish it was all true. The mystery of Emory’s Gift endures beyond the last page which makes this book destined to become a classic for all ages.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Peggy Tibbetts

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