I was so captivated by the adorable canine character in by Bruce Cameron, I absolutely had to read Emory’s Gift (not to say it wasn’t also because it featured an image of a cute grizzly bear on the front cover, maybe because in real life grizzly bears scare the dickens out of me, especially when met face to face.)
Emory’s Gift is a heartwarming story about a boy named Charlie Hall, who lost his mother to a terminal illness, and was about to lose his father – so absorbed was his father in his grief. Charlie is both the protagonist and the narrator, a very likeable one, if a tad unreliable. Since he is a teenage boy, torn by conflicting emotions and still grappling with the reality of his mother’s death, his perspective on things is often obscured, and we get a hint here and a hint there that his version of events may not be what it seems. Even at the end, it’s not clear whether Charlie Hall himself believes in the tale of a grizzly bear who was possessed of such uncanny intelligence and literacy that would put some humans to shame, and whose very existence shook the spiritual foundations of an entire town.
According to Charlie, Emory the grizzly is a very special bear. Not only does Emory save the boy’s life, he also helps revive and strengthen the relationship between Charlie and his father and bring closure and peace to the Hall’s family. A formidable predator becomes a messenger of love and harbinger of good things to come. Of course, the fact that a message of love is delivered by a grizzly bear sparks controversy and stirs up a small community where Charlie and his father live.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, a page turner chock-full of drama, suspense and humour; although at times Charlie’s erratic behaviour put a considerable burr under my saddle. 🙂 I also wish I could have read this book when my son was Charlie’s age – that would have surely eliminated some misunderstandings and helped better appreciate the inner world of teenage boys.