It was a lovely afternoon in Seattle yesterday, and I was able to sit out in the garden (in my coat) in a beam of Fall sunshine and finish reading Emory's Giftby W. Bruce Cameron.
I admit that I am drawn in to choosing a book to read by an animal on the cover. This book has a fantastical premise, with a grizzly bear who befriends a boy. Nobody should really be hanging out with bears as if they are not wild animals - it's a total fantasy, folks. But a charming fantasy nonetheless.
Charlie Hall is a boy much in need of a friend, having tragically lost his mother to cancer and living with a Dad still lost in his own grief. Their silent mealtimes are painful on the page, surely more painful to live through. Charlie is also carrying the burden of a feeling that he failed his mother in a significant way at the end.
He's also at that terrifying and confusing age of going from middle school to junior high; I shudder to even remember how scary that time was. He's got a secret, a Dad he can't really talk to, and a whole new landscape to navigate at school. How is a boy to survive?
Then one day he is out at the creek by his house and meets a grizzly bear who is unlike any other grizzly bear. He has a softness to his eyes and a gentleness in his demeanor - nope, not a real bear. When Charlie writes his name in the creek's bank, the bear writes, as well. He writes "Emory."
Thus begins a friendship that will help Charlie get through his grief, reconnect with his Dad, and survive junior high. Emory is the catalyst that changes a whole community.
Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy this book for what it is - a fabulous read.