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Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen


I only realized now that with the books I read, I tend to gravitate towards family drama, more than any other genre. I really thought I loved reading about murder mysteries (which I did growing up), but as I got older, I noticed that my tastes have changed a bit - and that a more f**cked up a family is, the more interested I am in exploring their story! (And that's true even in the TV series and movies I watch!)
The Summer of the Bear is pretty interesting in many different ways. The story is set in Bonn, when Germany was still divided into east and west, and since I'm such a big fan of the Cold War, the book offers a glimpse into how it was to live in Berlin, when it was still East and West Berlin - and it just confirms what we have already seen in movies like The Lives of Others.
More interestingly, the book is also set in the Outer Hebrides, these groups of islands in northern Scotland! I did search about the place in Google, and I would love to visit it one of these days. That and the Faroe Islands and Berlin of course!
Anyway, the book is a bit complex since it has espionage and sibling rivalry and a perceived suicide and an escaped bear all in the mix! Each of the characters are given a fair share of character development so you care about all these 3 siblings, their Mom who's free falling into madness and their Dad whose labeled as a traitor by the country he's serving!
And of course, there's the setting. I mean, how many books have you read about the Outer Hebrides! The inhabitants in these islands are characters themselves, really worth the read!
Anyhow, there is a twist in the end which ties up the story satisfactorily. You end up closing the book and wishing that these kids you've read about have learned something about their life experiences.

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