Monday, 12 December 2016

Dreaming the Bear – Mimi Thebo

Dreaming the Bear - Mimi Thebo
Dreaming the Bear is a quick read about a teenage girl, Darcy, who’s recovering from pneumonia after begrudgingly moving to Yellowstone National Park in its deep winter snow. She stumbles across an injured bear and things get a little more complicated.

Darcy seemingly moves in and out of bodily consciousness and this is interestingly written and quite atmospheric too. Her narration of the overwhelming and consuming tiredness that can accompany debilitating illness is conveyed very convincingly. Her relationship with the bear is an interesting one. It provides a storyline with heartstring-pull moments (oh yes, I did cry) and explores worthy questions about wildlife habituation but I didn't feel this was as richly conveyed as Darcy's consciousness was, perhaps because the novel is quite short. 

Characterwise, Darcy, perhaps justifiably, is a whinger. Yes, she is ill but she’s very spoilt too: it’s in her tone, in her thoughts and in her shopping behaviour so I struggled to warm to her. Sometimes that matters when I read a book. In terms of character development, she does change and she does become more aware of the different ways of life around her. 

The cover and the size of the book made me think this was a middle grade novel but I think the interest level is perhaps for readers older than 9 or 10 years, and definitely for teens too.

Dreaming the Bear has been nominated for the 2017 Carnegie Medal.

Publication details: Oxford University Press, 2016, Oxford, paperback

This copy: received for review from the publisher

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