Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: Bear Witness by Melissa Clark

Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Bear Witness.  We received a copy of Melissa Clark's book for an honest review.

About the book:

Three years after witnessing the kidnapping of her best friend Robin, Paige Bellen is expected to continue on with life as usual. Now, with her closest friend out of the country, a messy relationship with Robin's boyfriend, and a family that handles her with kid gloves, Paige isn't sure if she'll ever be able to move forward in life. Bear Witness explores the aftermath of a crime in a small town, and what it means when tragedy colors the experience of being a young adult.
This book takes a very unique approach to such a sensitive topic.  Paige's best friend, Robin, was kidnapped and murdered.  This book examines the after-effects of this.  Paige and her friend Caroline were at the slumber party that Robin was kidnapped from.  Instead of taking you immediately to the kidnapping, Clark's writing starts the story at the point of three years (with Paige in the 10th grade) after "the incident."  After that point you read about each previous year until you are at the year BEFORE the kidnapping.  This was a different way to see how Paige was coping (or not) coping with such a difficult event.  At times Paige thinks she will always be sad or never recover, but as you are taken backwards in the story, you realize she has made some strides.  

You see this story through Paige's eyes.  She is depressed and mad.  She also is very guilty about the events of that night.  Her family is trying to help her as much as they can, but Paige doesn't want them always asking what's wrong.  She is mad when her sister writes about the kidnapping for her college essay.  Paige does not think her sister should be using that story, which caused Paige so much pain, to get into college.  However, she is able to see how that night was scary not only for Paige, Robin and Caroline, but people that were worried about her.  This kind of incident happens more than it is portrayed in the media.  It was insightful that we all experience grief and expect people to understand that we are always experiencing that grief in some way.  Even years later while some people have moved on because it didn't directly influence them, Paige was still dealing with it - every single day.   

Buy the book:
       Barnes and Noble

About the author:

Melissa Clark is an author, television writer and college instructor. "Swimming Upstream, Slowly" (Broadway Books) was chosen as a Target Breakout Book in 2006. She created the animated television show, "Braceface" which starred the voice of Alicia Silverstone and has written scripts for "Rolie Polie Olie", "Sweet Valley High", among others.

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