[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
This is for Mel.

Mel recently had to read the book, "Touching Spirit Bear" by Ben Mikaelsen for class. While reading it, she complained mightily about it and asked me to spork it. As a friend I agreed to do it. Now, I can't guarantee that this'll be as interesting as Eragon or anything like that, but I promised Mel I'd do it so here it goes.

Amazon.Com says "Cole Matthews is angry. Angry, defiant, smug--in short, a bully. His anger has taken him too far this time, though. After beating up a ninth-grade classmate to the point of brain damage, Cole is facing a prison sentence. But then a Tlingit Indian parole officer named Garvey enters his life, offering an alternative called Circle Justice, based on Native American traditions, in which victim, offender, and community all work together to find a healing solution. Privately, Cole sneers at the concept, but he's no fool--if it gets him out of prison, he'll do anything. Ultimately, Cole ends up banished for one year to a remote Alaskan island, where his arrogance sets him directly in the path of a mysterious, legendary white bear. Mauled almost to death, Cole awaits his fate and begins the transition from anger to humility."

On the other hand, Mel says that Cole is stupider than Eragon and just as sociopathic.

Right. Now. Onto Chapter One!

Also, before we get started, I reserve the right to make innuendo about the phrase "Touching Spirit Bear" when ever I feel it's appropriate. :D

Now, we're going.

Chapter one introduces us to our protagonist, Cole Matthews. Cole is from Minneapolis and is in Alaska to avoid being sent to jail by spending a year in exile on a small island in the middle of nowhere. Apparently this is apart of something called the Healing Circle of Justice, which sounds like something Sailor Moon would say but is apparently an actual thing. It's a tribal Indian thing where the person who has done something wrong tries to learn how to heal and become a better person by being helped by other members in the community.

The question then becomes, what exactly did Cole do to deserve this? Well, Cole is apparently a juvenile delinquent. He's fifteen and has been in trouble half his life. Which means that he started getting in trouble when he was seven. This is a seriously disturbed kid. He also hates everyone.

Cole thought back to all the people at home who had tried to help him over the years. He hated their fake concern. They didn't really care what happened to him. They were gutless - he could see it in their eyes. They were afraid, glad to be rid of him. They pretended to help only because they didn't know what else to do.

For years "help" had meant sending him to drug counseling and anger therapy sessions. Every few months, Cole found himself being referred to someone else. He discovered early on that "being referred" was the adult term for passing the buck. Already he had seen the inside of a dozen police stations, been through as many counselors, a psychologist, several detention centers, and two residential treatment centers.


Obviously, what we have here is a severely disturbed individual. He's done drugs, though what sort, it's not mentioned. It's just thrown in there with all these other things that he's done. It's probably not even going to be mentioned ever again, just there to show how troubled he is.

In any case, Cole robs a hardware store and trashes it. It's not enough that he robs the place, he has to trash it to. And then in a brilliant maneuver he BRAGS about it at school a week later. This then begs the question why is someone who is such the juvenile delinquent doing in school? Why so he can brag about his exploits. Silly plot holes. So, of course, someone rats on him. And the police don't manage to keep it a secret so that Cole can beat the boy who told on him into a bloody pulp. Because no one crossed him and got away with it.

Poor Peter gets put in to the hospital while Cole gets kicked into jail. When Cole finds out that he might have done Peter permanent damage, he says that Peter deserved it. Lovely chap, isn't he?

Cole hates his parents and thinks they're jerks. Why? Because they don't bail him out of jail like they did all the times before hand. Obviously there is something wrong with them. Apparently Cole's dad thinks that everything is his fault. The fact that Cole's room isn't clean, the garbage wasn't emptied out, the lawn wasn't mowed. All truly horrible things. And the fact that his parents, who are divorced (probably because of him) can't visit him together means that they don't care about him. He ignores them whenever they do visit so eventually they stop. He probably thinks this is their fault too.

Eventually Garvey introduces him to the concept of Circle Justice. It is, to be politically correct, "It's a healing form of justice practiced by native cultures for thousands of years". Garvey calls Cole champ a lot and tells him that if Cole goes with this he could get out of going to jail. Of course, Cole jumps for it.

He acts all innocent, saying that he wants to change and stuff and Garvey falls for it apparently promising to get him into the program. When Garvey leaves, he's denounced a fool by Cole.

Thus we meet Cole, someone who is entirely unlikeable but we're supposed to root for. At least with Eragon, Paolini was trying to make him likable, even if Eragon was a total twat.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
In our last chapter we met Cole, who hates everyone.

Now, he's being dropped off on a deserted island in the middle of butt fuck... I mean Alaska somewhere. We learn in our second chapter that Edwin the Tlingit Elder built a hut on the island for Cole to live in. Cole hates him too. This, you will discover, is a reoccurring theme.

Cole also hates the hut. "Cole resented teh cabin and all this gear. When his father had agreed to pay all the expenses of banishment, it was just another one of his buyouts. Cole had news for him. This was just a sorry game. He twisted harder at the handcuffs and winced at the pain. He wasn't afraid of pain. He wasn't afraid of anyone or anything. He was only playing along until he could escape. " While the exiling bit is somewhat on the harsh side, at least his parents are trying to make sure that he has what he needs to survive.

We flash back to Cole being angry and in jail. He doesn't trust anyone and threatens Garvey if he's lying. Blah, blah, anger issues. He also had to plead guilty to get into the program. Which he didn't like. Of course. He doesn't like anything. Garvey continues saying that Cole is wasting people's time if he doesn't want to change and Cole keeps on calling him a fool.

Then they get to the island and the hut. The hut is a ways from water. Cole wants to know why it's so far away. Edwin tells him that other animals use the stream too and how would he feel if a bear moved in near him. Cole says he'd kill the bear.

Yes, a fifteen year old boy thinks that he can kill a bear.

Yes. Really.

This is foreshadowing, by the way.

There is some spiritual babble about animals being able to teach us more than anyone. Then we get this, "Off the coast of British Columbia, there is a special black bear called the Spirit Bear. It's pure white and has pride, dignity and honor. More than most people.

"If I saw a Spirit Bear, I'd kill it," Cole said."

Yes. Again with the killing of bears.

They tell him not to eat anything he doesn't know what it is. There's a book that'll tell him what's safe to eat and they'll check on him every couple of days. Cole bitches and complains.

Garvey gives him a blanket an 'At.oow' it's a very special blanket that's handed down from generation to generation and pass it on to someone you trust.

The two men finally leave. Cole flicks them off when they can't see him. Very mature.

Then we flash back again, where Cole gives the committees what they want to hear to get into the Circle Justice program, or we're told it. There's some dialog but really it's just telling. And Cole bitching. It gets tiresome quickly. And really I don't care about it. I just want to get on with the plot.

And then we go back to the Island where Cole cries... and back to jail where he cries more this time about the fact that his TV privileges were revoked because he didn't do his homework and he isolated himself and then threw a temper tantrum. No really.

Garvey comes in after the tantrum and tells him that he'll sponsor Cole.

We go back to the island and Cole sets his supplies on fire. Yes. His food, his shelter, his equipment, all on fire while feeling sorry for himself.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
And continuing on.

Last chapter. Cole hates everyone. Cole sets his supplies on fire. Cole hates people even more. Anyone sensing a theme here?

Cole stands in front of the fire feeling empty because his act of revenge (against whom, when it's only hurting himself?) doesn't make him feel better. Then he takes in the scenery. "Overhead eagles drifted on the air currents. In the bay, a mother seal played with her spotted pups as a golden sun peeked through the gray overcast and glinted off the waves. "This place sucks!" Cole mumbled as the breeze drifted sparks upward like wandering stars. He stared back into crackling red hot flames, and his anger burned." This is an interesting juxtaposition of images. It shows how self centered Cole is, because he's unable to appreciate, even a little what is around him.

And then we flashback while Cole feels sorry for himself. Garvey shows up with a paper bag and asks Cole about his life. Cole tells him that his parents hate him. He went out for wrestling, they rarely came to see him. And when they did, he lost. And his dad acted like it was his fault. He continued to spill his guts to Garvey not knowing why. Of course, we do, so that way we can learn all about his wangsty past and feel sorry for him.

We learn this about his parents, as Cole says, "He drinks until he turns into a monster. Mom just gets drunk and pretends nothing has happened." His father also beats him. So, his life sucks.

Garvey takes things out of his bag: Sugar, salt,butter, flour, eggs, baking soda, water and molasses. He then asks Cole to taste the things. Cole goes what the fuck? Gavery asks him if he's afraid of a little bad taste. Personally, having tasted those things, they don't taste bad. Anyway, goaded, Cole tastes everything, large big bites to show that he's not afraid. Garvey then gives him a piece of cake. Garvey asks if he likes the cake. Cole says it's okay. Garvey asks him what ingredient he should have left out. Cole says none, and calls him an idiot. Garvey walks out disgusted. Cole screams that he hates the cake.

Annnnd then we're back to the island and Cole. Who starts laughing manically. He laughs and cries and laughs. And then he burns that special blanket that Garvey gave him. All those who saw that coming, raise their hands.

So, he laughs, and we learn that Cole was a swimmer. His father made him swim because his father swam. This is incredibly convenient because he plans on swimming off the island. Which he does. He takes off his clothes and goes off into icy cold water.

Again we flash back to Cole and Garvey. Cole learns that he's been accepted into the circle of Justice program and the First of the Keepers are going to call a Hearing Circle to look for solutions. Anyone who wants to help Cole will be there.

Cole asks if Peter is going to be there, Peter being the boy he beat up. Garvey says he doesn't know if Peter is ready to forgive Cole. Cole doesn't give a rats ass if Peter forgives him. The chapter ends with:

Garvey rubbed the back of his neck, then glanced up toward the ceiling. "How come everything is always about you? This forgiveness isn't for you. Until Peter forgives you, he won't heal."

"Maybe if he forgives me, everyone will forget about what I did and I can get out of this pit faster"

Garve stood to leave. "Forgiving isn't forgeting, champ."
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Previously on Touching Spirit Bear: Cole hates everyone. Cole burns his supplies. Cole goes swimming in the icy water at night.

So, Cole is swimming and he's getting cold. This is not surprising. He's starting to get numb. Perhaps his spirit bear will fall off. Moving on.

He flashes back to the fact that in the circle of justice there were a lot of circle named meetings. Talking circles, healing circles, community circles, bail circles, sentencing circles. Circling circles. Okay, maybe not the last one.

The particular circle we're concerned with tonight is called the Hearing circle. Notices were sent out so that everyone in the community could come and join in on the fun. It's held in the public library. A whole bunch of random strangers show up as well as Peter (the boy he beat up), and Cole's parents and the Lawyers.

The circle starts with a prayer and then there's the talking feather. It represents respect and responsibility. You can only talk if you're holding the feather. The Keeper, the leader of the circle says that Cole has "a long history of anger,growing more violent until you severely injured Peter Driscal. Even now, Peter continues therapy for injuries."

There are parents who want to make the community safer, people who want to change society for the better. Cole bullshits when it's his turn, saying that he screwed up and wants to make things better and he feels sorry.

His father is there to make sure that his son never causes problems again. His lawyer says what kids will be kids even if what Cole did was wrong, and Cole needs to be released on parole to his parents.

Uh-huh.

Then it gets to Peter. He says that he's here because he got beat up.

"His speech was slow and halting. His eyes darted around the Circle as he passed the feather quickly to his mother.

Cole studied Peter. Peter hadn't sounded like this before. Cole wiped his sweaty hands on his pants. It wasn't like he had meant to hurt anyone. Besides, this wouldn't have happened if Peter had kept his mouth shut."

Yeeeeeeeah.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Cole = stupid twat. Everyone got that?

Now. Before I go on with this chapter, I'd like to mention something important. Cole's plan was to swim from island to island in his underwear until he reached civilization. Now, on the extreme off chance that he survived this journey, with no food or water, and not dying of hypothermia, he'd end up in civilization, for all intents and purposes, naked. With no money and no clothes and no means of doing anything. The odds of him lasting, especially with that temper of his, is minimal, to say the least.

Now, new chapter.

Cole is swimming and swimming and not getting anywhere. Apparently the tide is going in and bringing him back with it. Apparently his anger clouded his thinking. Eventually, he gets pulled back to the shore. His limbs are numb, he can't stand, he can barely move. He's naked. It's night time. He should freeze to death. Instead he manages to crawl to the site where he burned the shelter and falls into a fitful sleep.

He wakes up. He tries to remember. He falls asleep again. He wakes up again. He falls asleep. He wakes up in the morning, practically naked, bruised and beaten. And he sees our white spirit bear.

But he doesn't touch it.

"Shivering only in his underwear, Cole crouched and picked up a rock. This Spirit Bear didn't have any right to stare at him. It didn't have pride, dignity and honor like Edwin had said. It was just a mangy animal. Cole flung the rock, even though the bear was nearly a quarter mile away. "Keep staring, I'll kill you," he shouted.

What really angered Cole about the bear was that it stood there frozen on the shoreline without any sign of fear. It defied him. (why yes ladies and gentlemen the random bear that probably doesn't even know he exists, is defying him.) He looked around for some kind of weapon. In the ashes he spotted the charred blade of a hunting knife from one of the boxes. He picked it up and turned back to the Spirit Bear.

It had disappeared."

So, Cole was going to cut off his Spirit Bear. I mean he was going to cut the Spirit Bear. >.>

Moving on!

Apparently the special blanket that Garvey had given to him and that he tossed into the flames? Didn't get burned. That's right. Somehow Cole managed to MISS the great big bonfire of DOOM and the blanket didn't burn. So, now he can learn how to trust and give the blanket to someone else instead of facing up to the fact that he fucked up with his anger issues and deal with them and owning up to Garvey.

In another show of how Cole refuses to take responsibility for his actions, he blames Peter, his parents, the Healing Circle, everything. And someone's going to pay for what happened to him.

We flashback, again, to the circle meeting. Peter's lawyer says that he's a danger to society and needs to be isolated. He thinks that Peter is a slimeball creep. The other community members say that he's a danger to society as well. Then his parents -his fater- says that they've always wanted the best for him. Cole calls bullshit and brings up all the abuse that he's gotten.

Leaving the chapter to close on that.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Cole = stupid twat who didn't drown or freeze to death, much to our readers disappointment.

Cole dresses. Cole thinks back to the Circle meeting. Again.

He and his father yell at each other about the fact that the dad beats him, while his father says that he gives Cole swats and that he's devoted his life to Cole. They scream at each other and then are separated. The Keeper gives Cole the feather.

"Cole tried to be calm, but his voice shook and his face felt hot. "We aren't supposed to lie when we hold the feather, but my dad just lied. My parents don't have the time of day for me. I'm just in their way, especially since they split up. I bet my dad can't even tell you when my birthday is."

What we're getting here is Cole's sob story. My parents beat me and don't love me. But the problem is, I don't feel any sympathy towards him because he's already acting like a jerk. He already beat up a guy and doesn't feel any remorse to it. And he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Also we never see his emotional response to this abuse except for anger. He's always angry. We have no other emotional response from him. He's a one trick pony and I'm bored of him. I don't care about him. We're fifty pages into the story. It's far to late to make us care about the protagonist. Or even sympathize with him or anything. Our first impressions have already been formed right in the first few pages and it's going to take some major character development -which there has been none of - to make us change our minds about Cole.

This is a very important point. In Sir Apropos of Nothing the main character is an equally horrible person, but the story is told in such away that within the first few pages we sympathize with him. We learn his emotions, that he has a range of them. He's amusing and interesting enough that the reader wants to keep on reading, even after they learn about his horrible life and what he does. In Cole's case, we learn that Cole hates everyone and is angry all the time. That's it. When we do get droobles of Cole's past, we learn nothing emotionally new about him, in anyway that we can relate, except that he's a complete and total idiot. Our indifference, turns to annoyance which turns to out right loathing and a desire to throw the book across the room. Which we can't because it'll startle the cat and wake up the roommate. Ah, the problems of doing these things at one in the morning.

Garvey gets the feather next and talks about how some juvenile delinquents become functioning members of society and others don't and innit funny? He then says the funniest thing that I've read so far in the book, "Cole has will and courage". Scuse me while I go laugh my head off in the corner there.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA...........!!!!

Right. I'm better now.

He continues about how Cole is deeply wounded and needs help and how would anyone react in his circumstances. He gets people thinking. Then Peter's lawyer says that Cole is a menace to society. Peter's mother says that it's Cole's fault that her son is all messed up and they should send him to jail.

Cole then gets mentally bitchy because the talk of Jail is old and they might as well have just sent him there if they keep on coming back to it. I don't really care.

Peter then makes a remark that warms my heart though, "I think someone should smash Cole's head against the sidewalk so he knows how it feels." I'm sure most readers feel this way too.

They then have a prayer and the meeting ends. Cole refuses to take his parents' hands. Cole and Garvey talk after the meeting. They discover that Cole's father doesn't know when Cole's birthday is. And Garvey tells Cole that Cole's father wasn't the only one who was lying.

We go back to Cole on the island. Cole gets something to drink and decides that he's going to have to wait another day to try swimming away from the island. But this time he was going to do it well rested, warm and fed. Where he's going to get the food, having burned up all the supplies, I don't know.

Cole then watches the tide come in. Cole imagines what peoples reactions will be when they find him missing. He yells at his dad then remembers one time he disobeyed his dad -he came home late- and his father beat him with his belt. And then beats him with the metal part of his belt. And Cole screams. And screams more and then Cole's mother says 'Honey, you're hurting him' Cole's father threatens here but stops beating Cole.

And then we're back to the damn circle meetings. Number five. Cole is trying to plead with people asking why they don't believe him. And Peter's lawyer is all "STFU U R LYIN BASTARD" So, Cole is like "FUCKYOU WHY DON'T YOU JUST EXILE ME THEN?!" And the circle meeting goes "HAY! GUD IDEA!"

So they decide to see about exiling him and then setting judgment after a year.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
In today's chapter we don't flash back to anything! *gasp!*

Instead ... well...nothing really happens.

Cole is cold, so he makes a fire using the coals from the burned hut and green branches that he's cut from trees. And he's tired and angry. And needs to think straight Then he sees the bear, again. He yells at the bear, saying that he'll kill it.

To make good on this threat he goes off to make a spear from a sapling. As he does so, he avoids the thistly Devil's Club. I call this out, because this hasn't been mentioned at all before. It'd be one thing to say a thistly plant, but to give it a name when Cole is hardly the sort that would care what a plant was called is just the sort of thing that drops the reader out of the story. (Not that we were in the story much in the first place.)Because it makes the reader wonder where did that name come from? Why is it mentioned? Is it dangerous? Does it have a point at all? Does this story have a point? Why am I here? Who are you? What's that!!! AAGGGGHHHH!!!

Um... >.>

So, Cole makes a sharp stick. I refuse to call it a spear, because I really don't think he has the skill to make one. He makes a sharpen stick and goes back to his fire. It's smoky and there are mosquitoes. Mind you, most of this is being told instead of shown. We're just told that he found a sapling. Not how he looked for it or how he tried sharpening it or anything. Just: "Turning his back on the bear, he walked up to the trees to find a thin, straight, sapling to make a spear. As he searched, he carefully avoided the thistly Devil's Club.

When he found the perfect sapling, he hacked it off with the knife blade and sharpened the end. Balancing the spear in his heand, he nodded with satisfaction, then returned to the fire and rested the spear against a tree." This is the weapon he's going to use to kill the Spirit Bear. There should be thought in this. We should see what he's feeling (besides anger) and if he's proud with his work, if it was hard to do for him? Things like that. It could have been an excellent place to explore some of Cole's character besides burning hate, but we don't get that.

However, a bunch of mosquitoes bite him.

Once again he thinks about escaping. By the same route. Thinking that if he leaves during the day and during the right tide, he'll have a better chance of escape. I'll leave you to contemplate that on your own.

He sleeps badly. It rains. He chases some gulls and gets a fish. Which he cooks and eat. It rains more. He's wet and wishes he had the shelter.

Then he sees the bear. Again. So, what does Cole do? He goes off to kill the bear.

"It would have to run to escape. But still it remained, rain dripping from its matted coat.

As Cole neared, he slowed. Any second now, the bear would would turn and run. Just in case it didn't, Cole raised the spear over his shoulder.

Instead of fleeing, the bear shifted position to face Cole directly. Head hung low, it waited. Cole hesitated, then kept inching forward. It puzzled him that the bear would hold its ground. It must be bluffing. Surely it would turn and run. If it didn't it would die. He intended to kill it. Didn't the stupid moron know that?"

I don't think I need to say anything about that.

And then: "Cole found courage in the Spirit Bear's stillness. It must be scared. Why else would it just stand there instead of attacking?"

And then he attacks the bear.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Reader's Warning

If you thought last chapter was unbelievable, you're going to have to grab your bleach, binkies and put a pillow on top of your desk to prevent brain damage. Also, a strong supply of liquor is highly recommended.


Having dispensed with that warning, we proceed with due caution.

Cole throws his stick at the bear. Which knocks it away with remarkable ease. And then the bear attacks him. This is a very happy moment in the book. The bear beats the living shit out of him. His pelvis cracks, his chest is racked by claws, his right arm is broken by a bite, he's thrown around, and his ribs are cracked or broken. And then the bear leaves him alone.

He doesn't die.

He's probably bleeding internally, a bone is sticking out of his arm, he's bleeding profusely from several gaping wounds, and he doesn't die. Oh, and it's raining. Blood is in his throat for him to choke on.

And he doesn't die.

However, he does go on agonizingly about wondering if he's going to die or not.

Then apparently the seagulls are eating his flesh.

"Cole stared down at his chest. The bear's claws had raked him open. His shredded shirt exposed gashes with long strips of flesh missing. One of the gulls squawked as it stole a stringy piece of meat and skin from another gull. Cole realized that the gulls were fight over bits of his own flesh."

Cole gets angry... of course, because how dare these seagulls treat him like some other animal? After all he's Cole Matthews and better than everyone. In his continuing brilliance we get this train of thought from him, "The mauling didn't make sense. In the past, everything had always been afraid of him. Why wasn't the bear scared? A bear with half a brain would have turned tail and run. Instead, this dumb animal had attacked. Now it wandered out in the woods somewhere, the mauling little more than an inconvenience to its morning."

He knows very little about animals, doesn't he? Usually, things twice your size aren't going to go running from you. Unless they're a prey animal. Which a bear is most definitely not. He managed to get some bear hair in his hand and thinks to himself that no bear would willingly give it up... as opposed to shed... or something.

Cole is in pain. He tries to move. He can't. He looks at his arm. There's a bone sticking out near the elbow and his fingers are all puffy from the Devil's Club.

There's more agonizing about how he's all alone and doesn't belong and won't be able to survive because he doesn't have any shelter or food. Things that he would have had if he hadn't stupidly burnt them all in the first chapters. But you see, that would require foresight and a brain. Which Cole lacks in both cases.

What is happening here is that the author is trying to make us feel sorry for Cole, lying there, bleeding to death cold and alone. The problem is, we don't care about Cole. We're happy that he got mauled and might be dying. He doesn't have any of our sympathy. He never did from the first pages of the book. So, what we see, when we read this, is annoying angst and Cole having all the brains of a sea urchin. We just don't care about him.

And then, to help matters, he squishes a caterpillar. Why? Because it crawled to close to him.

Wasn't that just the most random thing ever? I know I think so!

He passes out... and doesn't die.

No, really. He's that seriously injured, and he doesn't die.

Instead he wakes up and feels sorry for himself.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Obviously since Cole couldn't have survived the night with his injuries, he must be a zombie.


As Cole lies in pain, in the rain, he starts angsting... no wait he continues angsting. Nobody cares about him. Why should he care about himself. Blah blah blah.

And then he sees a sparrow. It's a mommy sparrow. And mommy sparrow is feeding her little baby sparrows. Cole sees them and he hates them. He thinks they should die because that's what they deserve. He thinks momma sparrow should leave them to fend for themselves because she didn't owe them anything.

Cole feels the same way not owing anyone anything because no one cared for him. It rains. Nothing is his fault. He's in pain. He's angry. It's raining. He's lonely. I don't care. I wish he'd die already... or eat some brains. He doesn't freeze to death in the storm. Instead he pulls the imaginary blanket over him and falls asleep. It storms. He wakes up. He sees the bear again. The bear vanishes. There's not much action. Cole hates the bear.

It rains some more. A tree explodes. Cole cries. "Never in his life had he felt so exposed, so vulnerable, so helpless. He had no control. To this storm, he was an insignificant as a leaf. Cole blinked in stunned realization. He had always been this weak. How could he have ever thought he truly controlled anything?"

The storm blows out. He feels weak (but still not dead) and wonders which way he should go, fight to stay alive or just die. And then he sees the moon and starts thinking about what Garvey and Edwin told him about circles.

Then out of nowhere, he remembers the baby birds and the fact that the tree that they were in exploded. And what does he think? Not Good the baby birds are dead, but where are they? And he calls out, asking if they're okay.

Now, the question is, where did that come from? Where in this entire chapter did Cole go from HATEHATEHATE to where's the baby birds? Yes, he realized that he's absolutely nothing. Though why it takes the storm, instead of the bear beating the crap out of him to realize this, I don't know. I mean at least the bear thinks while the storm is just a force of nature. And the bear did nearly maul him to death, while the storm just... rained. Obviously, he was supposed to have an epiphany somewhere... but I must have missed it between the rain and the pain... and the rain. There is nothing in this chapter that indicates that he has found some reason to care about the birds. He goes from hate to are they okay with in... hours. With no thought process in between comparing himself and his situation to the birds.

It just happens.

And he's still not dead.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
I've finished book seven, so if anyone wants to chat about it, you can ping me. I'm not going to be putting up my impressions of it on here, just so I don't ruin it for anyone. I'll just say that I was satisfied with it.


Now, back to Zombie Boy.

Zombie boy is not dead. Zombie boy should be dead, but he's not. Which is why he's a zombie.

The chapter begins with Cole laying in pain, thinking about the baby birds. And then he's in so much pain that he can't think straight at all. He also really, really, really has to go to the bathroom, but he doesn't want to, because then he'd be lying in his own shit. But eventually nature takes over and he does shit. For once he's not angry, he wants to be, but he's not because he doesn't have the energy to be angry. He's attacked by bugs. And he stares at the broken tree.

He eventually spots the tree and sees that the baby birds are all dead. And then he gets existential on us. I warn you, if you thought the epiphany was heavy handed, that was a feather compared to this. I highly recommend for my dear readers to place pillows on their desks before reading on.

"As Cole stared at the tiny bodies, sadness flooded through him. The sparrows were so frail, helpless, and innocent. They hadn't deserved to die. Then again, what right did they have to live? This haunted Cole. Did the birds' insignificant little existences have meaning at all? Or did his?"

And it goes on.

"Cole's eyes grew moist. He couldn't stop thinking about the tiny birds strewn in the grass. Had they suffered before they died? Or did their fragile existence just suddenly stop? And what had happened to their energy when their hearts quit beating? It didn't seem right that now maggots would eat their bodies. Or maybe they would just rot into the ground to help the grass grow. Maybe that was the circle Edwin spoke of. You live, die and rot, then something else lives, dies and rots.

Cole understood this cycle. Besides him a tree had died. Already, ants and bugs crawled among the cracked bark and splintered wood. For them life went on. In a few weeks they would make new homes from the wood. With time the tree would rot and dirt. Then a new seed would fall and grow, and another tree would push upward. Years later, that tree would fall back to earth and begin the cycle all over again.

Yes, death was part of living. Cole knew his own body would eventually die and decay and be reduced to dirt. That was okay. That was how the world worked. But how had the world benefited from his living? Was he no better than a tree or some weed? Was his life just fertilizer for the soil?"

So, let us look at this section. If we remember our earlier characterization of Cole, he hates everyone and anything. He cares about nothing except for his own self. He didn't care one whit for nearly killing another human being. In fact he thought the poor boy deserved it. Now in the space of... perhaps hours, with no intervening thought or time between he suddenly worries for the birds. These random birds that he wished that they would die those few hours before hand. And then he suddenly understands the whole circle of life deal, from where we don't know. He just does. Also he was okay with this whole circle of life thing, when before he never even thought about it. Or mentioned it. Or even gave any knowledge of knowing it existed.

But the only way that Cole can become a "good person" is for him to realize these sort of things. However instead of letting him slowly learn about it, while living on the island and thinking about his life, we just get hit on the head with this in about four paragraphs.

The rest of the chapter is Cole wasting away in misery and not dying. Mosquitoes eat at him. He tries to eat grass, but it doesn't stay down, so he eats worms. He looks at his arms covered in mosquitoes and wishes he had the blankets. "How could he have ever tried to burn it? It would have protected him from the cold, the rain, the wind and the insects. It might even have protected him from himself." If we all remember correctly, he tired to burn the blanket because he didn't think he needed it and because he hated everyone. But now he's a different person and understands the circle of life and ... stuff.

And finally, he captures a mouse to eat.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
I've read a lot of books. Good ones, bad ones. This is the first time I've read something that actually disgusted me enough that I had to put the book down for a while before picking it back up again. And that's saying something.

Basically, Cole eats the mouse. While rather horrifying in its own right, it's the way that it's described that turns up the notch to unacceptable in my personal book. It's completely and utterly gratuitousness. We didn't need to see Cole eat the mouse.

For those of you who are curious as to what exactly happens, I've typed it up and put it behind a cut, because I don't think it's something that everyone wants to see.

Mouse )

The next couple of pages is about Cole thinking about how much he wanted to live and that food was energy and energy was life. He chases the sea gulls away from his vomit, because there are fish chunks in there and he needs them to eat. He eats them. Sleeps. Still doesn't die.

And then he starts feeling energy when he wakes up. It rains, again, and he puts mud on his wounds hoping it'll keep the mosquitoes away. And he gets some muddy water to drink.

The Spirit Bear returns and Cole is afraid, wondering if the bear is going to finish him off. In an act of defiance he spits at the bear. And the bear comes towards him.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Halfway point! Everyone cheer!

No, he's still not dead yet.

Two chapters tonight.

Cole spat at the Spirit Bear. The Spirit Bear approaches and then licks up Cole's spit before walking away. Anyone else think that's completely random? Cole angsts about the bear thinking that he's insignificant. He starts to cry because he's unloved and alone and nobody cares about him. He's still not dead yet.

He dreams he's a baby bird in a nest struggling to survive. Needing to submit and having a simple desire to live. When I read the bit about submission, my mind immediately wandered off to some naughty places. While he dreams, it's raining. He's still not dead yet.

The Spirit Bear shows up again. And stares at Cole. Cole isn't afraid. He knows that he'll fight (though I don't know how) and if he dies then it's his time to die. And I'm gagging here in the corner. Apparently the bear isn't there to finish him off, but instead is just looking at him curiously. Cole pets the bear and feels trust coming from the bear. He doesn't understand why, because he had tried to kill the bear and spit at it. He hated the bear and the bear defied him. And now the bear was letting him touch him. Yes, Cole finally touches his Spirit Bear. Afterwards the bear wanders off. He's still not dead yet.

Suddenly, Cole has a revelation! The world was beautiful! There's a long description of how beautiful things are, the animals frolicking, the trees and everything so wonderful! "Yes, the world was beautiful! Even the wet moss and crushed grass near his hand was beautiful. Staring at the delicate patterns, he wondered why had never noticed this all before. How much beauty had beauty had he missed in his life time? How much beauty had he destroyed?" And he goes on about this and slowly he fades off, though he hears a buzzing sound. He doesn't die.

Unfortunately he gets rescued by Edwin and Garvey. They take him back on boat and is taken off to the nurse's office. The people around him are worried and Garvey and Edwin talk about how Cole's injuries are from an animal. He's still not dead yet.

Cole is tended to by a nurse named Rosy. They give him drugs. Wrap him up in bandages. The plane can't make it until the morning. Edwin and Garvey talk about how Cole isn't as touch as he thinks he is and if only he had a reason to live. He has a dream where he realizes he has people who care about him. Garvey fed him, his parents fed and clothed him and gave him money, Rosey tended his wounds, Edwin gave advice. (Not so sure about that last one, but okay.) And then all these people turn into monsters and yell at him.

He and Garvey talk about how Garvey is helping Cole to help himself. And how Garvey went to jail for five years. And he wishes he had gotten Circle Justice. Blah blah blah. It's supposed to tell us why Garvey cares so much about Cole and wants to help him. There's supposed to be parallels here. They're rather obvious parallels, especially since Garvey almost comes out and says it.

Edwin asks him what happened on the Island when they're taking Cole to the plane. He tells them what happened. They tell him that he may not have use of his arm any more. Cole says, "My arm isn't important." When they ask why, he replies, "If I like the cake, maybe the ingredients are okay, too." Cole smiled weakly. "A famous parole officer told me that once."

Yes, Cole has done a complete and utter 180, without any reason for him to do so. If anything his experiences should have rendered him more hatey, because I know I'd hate everything if I got mauled by a bear. I definitely would be hating nature at least.

Anyway, Edwin and Garvey don't believe him about the Spirit Bear and then he shows them the hairs he took, promising himself that from now on, he'll tell only truth. He lets the hairs go and the last words of the chapter are "Smiling, Cole rested his head on the stretcher. Edwin had said that anger was a memory never forgotten. That might be true. But the Spirit Bear was also a memory that would never disappear from his mind or heart."

Now, the mind part I can get. Trust me, if I had that sort of trauma I'd never forget that too. But the heart thing? I think it would maybe take months or years even for me to make that sort of realization. I definitely wouldn't make it days after the incident. The transition Cole makes is so quick it's unbelievable. It's forced. Like everything else in this book.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
We return to Cole six months later.

He's been in the hospital this entire time. His mother has been visiting every day and so has Garvey. Cole's father has not. His father has been charged with child abuse by his mother because of Garvey making his mom feel guilty.

Cole is confused as to why she shows up. After all, why does she suddenly care about him? And why should he believe her? And why didn't she visit at night... after visiting hours are done. She comes every day and appears to be trying to make amends and he's upset that she doesn't stay past visiting hours. When it's dark and he's alone with his thoughts. And he remembers the bear mauling him, and being angry and stuff. But he also remembers the baby birds and touching the Spirit Bear. Yup, the dead birds and the bear that mauled him bring him comfort. I know it would me.

Apparently the physical therapist tells him, what happened to Cole would have killed most people. Yes. The author fully admits that what he did should have killed Cole, but didn't. There goes any trust I have in this author. He just admitted to us that he did something unreasonable and unbelievable, that his main character should have been dead, but isn't because he's just that special. And when we get to the point where the author says his character is just that special, I want to put the book down and kill something.

And apparently they're taking Cole back to the detention center to decide what to do with him. Because the circle justice failed and what not. Garvey tells Cole that the hard part is not his physical healing but his emotional ones. And I gaged. You don't need to actually go out and say it. We should learn about it not be told about it with a sledge hammer.

Garvey comes by to visit him at the jail, and they talk about the island and how Cole saw the Spirit Bear, which Garvey isn't sort of believing. He says that Cole saw something that he thought was a Spirit Bear. They then talk about Cole's dad, who also has a sob story, which we learn from Cole's mother. Cole's father was abused and insert Cliched Background here.

The Justice Circle meets and people say that Cole should be handed over to regular justice. And then Edwin walks in. GASP. Once Edwin is settled, they say that it's Cole's turn to tell his story.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
In Spirit Bear, we last left with the Circle of Justice. It was Cole's turn to speak. Cole says that when he went to the island he was bad, then he got mauled by a bear and now he's good. His mother talks next saying she's that Cole has changed and she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. The feather goes around and people don't speak up for Cole (can't imagine why) but do say that maybe he should have a reduced sentence for good behavior, but his case should be return to the courts.

Garvey speaks out for Cole, saying that he has changed and he's good now.

Peter (The boy who Cole Beat Up)'s Lawyer says that Cole is still Evil and should go to Jail because two days on the Island isn't enough to change anyone and Peter is still really badly hurt. And Cole was pulling things out of his ass when he talked about the pure white bear attacking him. Personally I don't see why they're making such a big deal about what COLOR the bear was, when it's quite obvious that he was attacked by a bear. I mean the kid was laying out in the middle of butftuck nowhere, laid open by the bear and probably delirious half the time, and they're worried about what color he says the bear was? He thought he was a dead baby bird for crying out loud! He wasn't in his right mind! They should give the color of the bear the same amount of credibility as if he had said it was orange. The fact that the color of the bear keeps on coming up is because the author is trying to come up for a reason to Cole to be called a liar. After all there's no real way to prove or disprove it, except for the fact that the white bears aren't supposed to be there. Instead Cole must be lying and trying to get out of his real punishment.

Then Edwin speaks. He does an example with Cole showing how a person's life can be changed slowly or suddenly. The best part about this demonstration is that he shoves Cole onto the floor. Again they say that Cole might not be telling the truth because he saw a white bear. Edwin asks him if he saw a white bear. Cole says yes. Edwin says that another person saw a white bear in the same area. The Lawyer then says fuck the color of the bear (then why did she keep on bringing it up?) Cole screwed up so he gets no more chances. Edwin says that if they send Cole back to the Island he'd have to pay for everything for himself.

Cole gets sent back to the detention center and he works out a lot, but his right arm still is gimpy. Working out helps his anger. Cole's lawyer stops being his lawyer because his father won't pay for him any more. Edwin also stopped by a few times.

Then Edwin and Garvey stop by. They ask him some Hard Questions. Like how does he think he's changed, does he think this is all his father's fault? (To the latter Cole answers no, because his father was abused. And he hopes he never abuses his children. He cries too. Fortunately for him, Cole gets to go back to island. Edwin and Garvey have had Cole released into his custody.

So, Cole gets to go back to the Island. He had to sell all his stuff (like his dirt bike, snowmobile, bicycle, skis...) to pay for new supplies. He's upset about this. But still it's worth it because he gets to go back to the island. Once on the Island they tell him that he needs to build a fire and have dinner ready in two hours, after which Garvey and Edwin wander off on the island.

When they come back, they have hot dogs and Garvey does another one of his example things with food. He tells Cole that all the world is a hot dog and depending on what you do with it: be it make it simple and crappy or take the time to make it nice and share is up to you. And that he should make his time on the island a celebration.

If I get beat over the head with any more life lessons I'm gonna have a concussion.

Well, that's it until Sundayish.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
For those of you wondering how my doctor's appointment went. He gave me a shot in the ass.

In return for my pain, I return to Spirit Bear.

In our last chapter we had Garvey make symbolism with hot dogs. Unfortunately it wasn't sexual. Fortunately we all bypassed that and turned it into our own special little symbol of love.

Garvey continues his wonderful non-innuendo by telling Cole that tomorrow they dance their feelings! Yes. Nothing sexual about that. I'm surprised he's able to say it with a straight face.

Cole goes to sleep... and tosses and turns a lot. He thinks about the Spirit Bear and wonders if it's still out there, if it was angry, did it miss him, did it want to go out on a date? Okay, maybe not the last two. He wonders what his mother was thinking, if she missed him. What his father was thinking. He hopes that Peter would be okay. Not kidding about that last one. No really. Not.

As he thinks he gets angry. Angry Cole SMASH!! Angry Cole thinks about his past and future and how he was going to have to do all the work around the island even with his bum arm. He doesn't actually think about his past or his future. We're just told that he does. Once again he seems to be showing when he should be telling and telling when he should be showing.

Edwin wakes Cole up in the very early morning before sunrise. He's all very mysterious and leads Cole off to the woods. They talk for a bit and Edwin remarks about how Cole was tossing and turning. Cole says that he was thinking, "My mind gets to thinking and won't quit *mad cackling noises* Think? Him?. Like it's chewing on tough meat. It won't swallow a thought, and it won't spit it out. It just keeps chewing it over and over." It seems to be a rather thoughtful bit of words from Cole, who doesn't normally express himself beyond "I HATE YOU" But since this is the new and improved Cole, he obviously is allowed to wax poetically.

They get to a lake Edwin strips off all his clothes and tells Eragon Cole to do the same. There is no gratuitous body oogling scene for which we are grateful. I don't want to see any sort of lingering description of Edwin's potbelly or groin areas. Once derobed they go into the water and Cole bitches about the fact that it's freezing. They get to a ledge where they7 sit chest deep in water on some underwater rocks.

Edwin has a stick.

No, not that sort of stick.

He tells Cole that the right side is his happiness and the left his anger. And then he tells Cole to break off the left side. Can you see where this is going? Cole eventually says, "But it'll always have a left side" and Edwin goes "Exactly!" And I get a concussion.

While Kips has her concussion and ass pain. *snerks* I'll take over for a bit.

Right, so Edwin is sharing his Native Tribal WisdomĀ©. He tells Cole to look up at the sky. Half of it is stormy the other half is sunny and clear. Is it a stormy or is it clear and nice? Is the glass half empty or the glass half full? Edwin drones on about how he spent time on the island and how it helped him deal with his anger. I kinda fell asleep at this point. But apparently the pond is supposed to make Cole learn to be happy one day at a time. There's symbolism there if you can find it. Apparently being a pessimist is bad and we all must be happy hippies like Edwin and Garvey who have conquered their anger and become one with the universe. After all conforming to the majority culture and sharing their opinions is the only way to go as opposed to finding your own way and creating your own life and yeah, okay maybe it doesn't exactly jive with what the rest of society says is right but if you're happy then good for you. And yes Cole may not be happy but this also may not be the way to get him to be happy, but of course it will be because the wisdom of the Tribal Elders is always right.

Next chapter Cole dances like a whale!
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Right. So, back from the land of concussions.

Edwin and Cole return from their not at all sexual innuendo scene involving nudity and a stick to camp where Garvey has started a fire. He points out some whales that are breaching and Edwin tells Cole that they're humpbacks. Cole mentions that he's never seen whales, except on TV. I think that if he's seen a whale in Minnesota then something is seriously wrong. Edwin then says that they'll dance the whale dance. Everyone! Do the Whale!

Cole eats breakfast, cold cereal. Edwin says that he might want something more than that to eat, but he and Garvey also eat cereal. Now, this is an interesting point in the story. Cole is obviously making a mistake, but instead of trying to show him what a proper breakfast is, Garvey and Edwin go along with his mistake. How is Cole supposed to learn what a proper breakfast is, if he doesn't see what it is supposed to be? They could have made the proper breakfast without bringing up the cereal at all. I can see what the author is trying to do here, showing that Garvey and Edwin will let Cole make his own mistakes, but if they're trying to teach him something, there are other ways to do it. But that's just my opinion.

After breakfast, Edwin gives Cole a pair of gloves to use, telling him that they'll protect him from blisters. Cole says that he's not a wimp. I stop and wonder what being a wimp has to do with getting blisters. He's trying to prove that he's a manly man, but instead he's once again proving that he's an idiot. This again goes back to show why that long metaphorical phrasing of chewing meat is utterly out of character, because Cole doesn't think. Instead what the author appears to be doing, and not very well, is using this story as a front for his morality tale and not caring if the characters stay in or out of character as long as they get their point across.

Anyway, Cole builds himself a shelter with Garvey and Edwin directing. Eventually he grudgingly puts on the gloves, after his hands get filled with blisters.

Night time comes and Cole makes hamburgers. Or to be more exact he makes a feast of hamburgers by putting lots of fancy things on them. Personally, I don't see how that works. Food is food, no matter what you put on it. It's only festive by the atmosphere around you.

Then, they dance! Edwin speaks first, "All around us there are powers. There are animals like the whale, the bear, and the eagle. There are powers like the sun and moon and seasons. And there are the powers inside of us like happiness and anger. We can feel all of these and dance to them. They all have much to teach us. Today we saw the whale, so tonight we'll dance the whale dance. Each of will tell what we learned from watching the whale."

Garvey, Edwin and Cole (who does it reluctantly) dance, each imitating a whale. For your amusement's sake Alec will now do the Reading of Spirit Bear Dance.

Alec sits down cross-legged, slowly paging through an imaginary book. His expression turns from blandness, to horror, disgust and then anger. He tosses the book away from him, gets up and bashes his head against a wall. Concussed, he drops to the floor.

Thank you Alec.

Then they talk about what they learned. Edwin learned that the whale is graceful and gentle (obviously he's never seen an Orca taking out some seals). Garvey learned that the whale is smart and powerful. Cole learned that a whale migrates but doesn't have a home. He feels like a whale.

The next day, Edwin and Cole do not engage in sexual adventures as they go skinny dipping in the ice cold lake. They sit there until Cole is numb. Then Edwin has Cole take a rock the size of a bowling ball up a steep hill. The rock is supposed to be Cole's ancestors, "Climbing this hill is your life. With each step, you carry our ancestors with you, in your mind, in your heart and in your soul. If you listen, your ancestors reach out from the rock and teach you the lessons of their struggles. Hear your ancestors. Someday, you'll pass those lessons onto others."

Once again we're being whapped over the head with Moral Lessons That We Need to Learn. The author isn't even bothering to be subtle about it. Of course he never was. He just continues to bash us with the Moral Lessons

At the top of the hill he tells Cole to treat his ancestors with respect, IE don't just drop the rock. Edwin tells him that he's carried that rock up the hill many times. (And now I'm get images of whatshisface who had to push the rock up the hill in the Underworld) the very same rock. Apparently once the rock is set down, it changes meaning. It's a very malleable rock. Now the rock is Cole's anger which he rolls away from him back down the hill. Edwin tells Cole that each time he does this, he'll find new meaning. Cole hardly seems the type that would gather meaning from this, but of course, we all know that he will, because that's how this book is going.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
So, we return to Spirit Bear. Are you ready to have your spirit touched? I know I am and I'm sure you'll be touched too.

When we last left Cole (our hero)he and Edwin got rid of Cole's anger by rolling a stone down a hill. "Slowly Cole let go of his ancestors and allowed the stone to become his anger. He knew that he had quit blaming others, including his father, for his problems. As long as blame still existed, so would his anger. He had to let go, the same way he let go of this rock. With that thought, Cole sank to his knees and placed both his hands against the rock. With a grunt, he shoved it down the slope.

As the rock tumbled faster and faster, Cole felt his body growing lighter, and when the rock smashed to a stop at the bottom, he felt as if he could fly."


So, Cole got stoned with a stone? Is that what they're calling it? Also, I have "I can fly higher than an eagle" stuck in my head now. But this is besides the point. Cole has just had a sudden revelation. He has to let go of his anger and stop blaming people and then all of a sudden he feels as free as a bird. While only a few paragraphs ago he thought the entire idea was completely and utterly idiotic, his turn around rate is amazing.

Then he sees his Spirit Bear. Or so he thinks. He's not sure. He goes back to camp to where Garvey (his parole officer) and Edwin are. He sits and then... he reveals to the two of them that he's sorry about his attitude and he realizes that he'll not get over his anger unless he quits blaming everyone else. Garvey asks why the change of heart.

Cole bit at his lip. "I just realized that I'm not a bad person. Nobody is," he said. "People are just scared and do bad things. Sometimes people hurt each other trying to figure things out."

Okay, so when did this happen? When in any of his entire thought processes did he suddenly realize that he wasn't a bad person? I have not seen in any point in time he thinking about this sort of thing. Needing to let go of his anger, a bit, but actually think that he's not a bad person (which I tend to disagree with, but then again I'm of the theory that it's your actions and not your thoughts that prove if you're a good person or not) hasn't been seen. Also, if we look back at his thoughts as he did his bad actions, he wasn't afraid at all, in any time, he just did it because he was angry, or hating, but never mentioned that he was afraid. He thought he was in the right the entire time. So where has it come from? Some have suggested his ass. Of course Garvey and Edwin are suspicious. Cole is like it doesn't matter if you believe me or not and goes about making the camp ready. This of course, proves to the two adults that yes, he is serious.

He then works on his cabin happily. I think he's still stoned. At the end of the day, he has a roof, window and handle for the door. Garvey and Edwin say that he did a good job and then mention that he'll have to build furniture. How is he supposed to build furniture with no one telling him how? I don't know. Anyway, Cole decides to make a feast, with spaghetti and biscuts and Snickers bars. He uses the blanket that Garvey gave him as a symbol of trust at the beginning that mysteriously didn't burn, as a tablecloth.

Then Edwin asks what dance should they dance that night. Cole suggests the Spirit Bear dance. They ask him if he saw the Spirit Bear and Cole says yes he thinks he did. They ask if he's afraid of the bear, he says, no I'm more afraid of being left alone. Yes. Cole is more afraid of being alone than with the same island with the thing that nearly killed him. With normal people, if they have a terrifying accident they become weary of whatever caused the accident. I fell off a horse and was sorta scared of getting back on the horse. And I only took a tumble. After a major car accident, you are probably going to have a great deal of trouble getting back into a car. If you've been beaten up by someone, you're not going to want to be around them. However, Cole apparently has been changed so much that he's forgiven the Spirit Bear for mauling him... or is no longer afraid of it because he knows it won't hurt him... or something.

After this, he dances the Dance of the Spirit Bear with Edwin keeping the beat. He dances as if he was the bear vanishing in and out of sight and then attacking him before wandering off proudly into the night. Edwin and Garvey then dance the dance of the Spirit Bear. Garvey scaring
Edwin by screaming boo at the end. This is supposed to be funny. Of course, I'm so bored with the book I just sort of shrug and go huh, can we move on. Where's the plot?

Mind you, we're 173 pages into a 240 page book and nothing has happened, we're not building up any tension or moving towards a climax. Cole is making epiphanies all the time, from somewhere, but we don't see him trying to struggle with it as he comes to these realizations. He just has them and we move on. He doesn't think about them. But then again, he's not a thinking character, he just does shit. Still, there could be some way for him to come to these revelations, perhaps during his time on the island as he tries to survive, but at the rate we're going, he's not going to have time to live on the island, or at least, we won't be able to see him live on the island but instead get a summary of it.

The next morning Cole gets up eagerly for his swim in the ice cold lake. He doesn't need to be woken up by Edwin, and in fact they ask if they could come with him. If we remember, the previous day, Cole had been horribly grouchy and wanting to skip a day. Now, he's all happy happy, joy joy about it. He proudly leads the way and strips without hesitation. Garvey and Edwin join him. He does not take in how the two older men look, and doesn't glance to see if their groins are hairless or not. But instead he goes to get in touch with himself. We have not seen any transition from yesterday to today on how Cole suddenly wants to go do this. No thoughts or suggestion that today would be any different from yesterday. He just does it. It's as if the part where he discovers why he wants to do it ended up on the cutting room floor. In a book like this, where a character's transformation from "bad" to "good" his thoughts and motivations are the most important things to show. Any time he makes a transition from a bad behavior to a good one, it should be shown so the readers can understand and believe his journey.

They take the Ancestor Rock up the hill and roll down the anger and walk back laughing and joking as if they were all friends, as if any tension between them didn't exist any more. Garvey and Edwin leave, but not before giving Cole a knife. Garvey says it can destroy or heal. When Cole asks how it can help him heal, Garvey says, "Use it to carve. If you discover what lies within the wood, you'll discover what's inside of you. It helps you to heal." Not to be snarky or anything, but generally, wood is inside wood. But then again there are those who say that when they carve they aren't carving something out but merely releasing what was inside the stone/wood/thingy. Still, I don't think Cole is going to be very good at carving (unless he's really Richard Rhal in disguise).

Edwin then says, "But you can never heal completely until you discover one thing." When Cole asks what it is, Edwin says if he told Cole he couldn't discover it. And now we move into our hokey part of the program where the character learns to discover something inside of them self that makes everything okay. Things like... love... or compassion... or something.

Cole watches Edwin and Garvey leave and gets choked up, realizing that if he doesn't do it right this time, he won't get a second chance.

So, next time we get to see Cole living on the Island. Yay.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
So, Cole has become Jesus. He's learned how to forgive and now all of a sudden he knows how to make furniture.

By the time Edwin visited next, Cole had built a table, a chair, and a bed frame for an old foam mattress that was part of his supplies. He made the furniture from driftwood, nails, and scraps left over from the cabin.

Now, I'm a fairly intelligent person, but I have absolutely no woodcraft at all. If I was stuck on an island the best I could make would be very crude things. And there's no way I could have done it all in four days, which Cole does, with a gimpy arm. But apparently since he's learned to forgive and plans to make a go of it, he's learned how to make furniture. He's also started to make with firewood too. All in four days. Yup. He must be the Flash some how.

Edwin visits and tells him Garvey left for Minneapolis. Cole tells him that he'll carve him something special. When Edwin leaves, Cole goes for a walk and finds a very large log. Looking at it, he decides to carve a totem pole. He gets some rope and lugs it down the river to his camp, toying with the idea of using it as a canoe for escape. Unlike on previous nights, he doesn't sleep like the dead. He tosses and turns. This is obviously because he is feeling guilty and horrible about his desire to create a canoe. He tries to rationalize building a canoe, but realizes it would all be a lie.

Still he goes at it. And he's angry while he works on his canoe.

He picked up the hatchet and began swinging hard, shaping a bow. By early afternoon, the end of the driftwood had been roughly formed into a flat point. Cole felt angrier each time he rested. His only satisfaction came from swatting horseflies and mosquitoes. Never again would those bloodsuckers feed off him like a carcass.

He then sees a pair of eagles fishing and that makes him realize that this is the first time he's been angry on the island and that he'd hadn't gone to the pond. Obviously this means that thinking about leaving makes him upset. Once he stops making the boat and starts making a totem pole he automatically feels better.

Again Cole knew he was lying. He had slept poorly because he had considered making a canoe instead of a totem. Taking a deep breath, he lifted the hatchet and began striking the center of the log. Again and a gain he hacked, until a deep groove circled the log. With each blow, he felt his anger disappearing.

So, not doing the right thing makes you angry. Doing the right thing makes you happy. Yup. Isn't that how it works in real life?

Then he dances the dance of the eagle. I have this picture in my mind of him flapping around and doing the "Whoooosh" thing that Freakaziod did. I dunno... That night he sleeps like the dead again and goes to the pond in the morning. Everything is good afterwards.

When Edwin returns next he and Cole have a heart to heart sort of talk. Cole asks about if he's gotten any mail, and Edwin says yes, but he can't have it. Cole asks about his mom and dad. Mom has been calling every day. Dad got released before having to spend night in jail. Peter is severely depressed.

Cole wishes he could help him. If I was Peter, I wouldn't want Cole within the same state as me.

Edwin sees the Totem/Canoe and asks about it. Cole admits that he tried to make a canoe and then didn't and slept good. Edwin is glad he was honest. I feel warm and fuzzy. But that could just be the cat under my foot.

Cole asks about Totems and Edwin answers them. Saying that they tell ancestry. "Your totem is your story, your search, and your past. Everybody has their own. That's why you carve. That's why you dance the dances. That's why you live life - to discover and create your own story."

Cole says that he tried to dance the dance of anger, but it didn't work. Edwin says that he wasn't ready yet.

I feel...like I'm getting talked down to. Or in an after school special.

I'm still not certain where we're going with this book or what's going to happen. I still feel no tension. I'm just bored.

Someone write me an Anita Blake/Angelus crossover!
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
And once more into the breach my friends, once more!

Edwin leaves, Cole carves, it rains, he does laundry. The next day he tries to make himself invisible to the bear by trying to mask his human scent and then he goes and tries to see the bear, but instead gets really cold. He tries this several more times with no luck.

Then one day he sees a beaver. He sits really still and watches it and then for some reason tries to grab it. The beaver slaps his tail at him.

That was the only time the beaver ever came near. Cole regretted betraying the beaver's trust. He couldn't help but think how many thousands of times he had done the same thing to people. That night he danced the beaver dance. He realized that a beaver had persistence, patience and ingenuity. By using only its front teeth to chew down one tree at a time and dragging each one into the water, it eventually made a home that could dam a whole river.

The next day, Cole began carving a beaver's head. He tried to think about the lessons the beaver had to teach but he grew frustrated by how poorly he carved. His beaver head looked more like a deformed frog. Still he kept carving.


Now the only intelligent thing in that above sentence is the fact that he had trouble carving. The rest of it is more heavy handed poppy cock. Once you start saying things like "thinking about the lessons" then you know the author is trying to shove a lesson and a moral down your throat. And when they start doing that, I put the book down. If you can't put the lesson in subtly then you're dong it wrong. No one likes to hear, "And this is the Lesson you should have Learned" when reading.

Time passes. Cole is busy. Cole still hasn't seen the Spirit Bear or danced the dance of anger. I'm going to dance the dance of happiness when this book is over. Edwin shows up and asks if he has danced the dance of anger yet and then leaves. Cole feels sad that the man leaves, wondering if he cared or not, or if he was mad. Perhaps the idea that Cole is supposed to stay alone on the island and not really have human contact is beyond him.

In any case Cole tries to stop being angry. But he can't dance the dance of anger. He also tries to become invisible. He's sad that he can't do it. Then one night he realizes how he can do it!

OMGAWD CLIFFIE!!

Short tonight. Which is good, even if it is rather pointless. But I'm sleepy, so I'm going to bed.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
So, now we must solve our cliffhanger! How do you become invisible? Is it get bombarded by radiation in space? No. Is it be born with the ability due to genetic mutation? No. Is it having an invisibility cloak? No. To become invisible he had to clear his mind.

In the cold pond, his mind became almost trancelike. The fish and beaver had come close until he thought of hurting them. The day he touched the Spirit Bear he had been near death and had completely given up trying to be in control. Being invisible had nothing to do with being seen. Being invisible meant not being sensed or felt.

Well, let's see. Spacing out completely is how you become invisible. I can see the merit in that. But I think the real way is to just be able to still your body and control your breathing, kinda like what Ventari does, as opposed to just spacing out. But apparently Cole seems to think this is the trick. Then Cole goes philosophical.

This discovery excited Cole and set him to thinking. If animals existed in a world of instincts and sense beyond the conscious thoughts of the mind, what happened to people in their frantic worlds of noise and hectic rushing? How much of the world did people miss because they were not calm enough, empty enough, to experience it?

Now then, what does the above have to do with the rest of the story? Absolutely nothing! The author here is using Cole as a mouthpiece for his own views and his ideas. After all nothing in Cole's character suggests that he'd ever think like that. If anything, once he discovered how to be come invisible, he'd think to himself, "Cool" and that would be it. Cole has been shown to be not very big on deep thoughts. This above paragraph is too deep for him to think.

So, that morning he goes off and makes himself invisible. He becomes one with the landscape. He becomes invisible to himself. There's long descriptions of this happening. And then Cole opens his eyes and he sees the Bear.

At the place where things visible faded into not-being, there stood the Spirit Bear, as clear as if it were standing only feet away. The bear gazed patiently.

As Cole stared back with the same patience, all time, even the present ceased to exist. He no longer thought of himself as Cole Matthews, a juvenile delinquent from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Instead he was part of the landscape, without beginning or end. Rain d ripped off the rocks that lined the shore the same way it dripped from his forehead and flowed down across his cheeks and lips. It blurred his vision, and he blinked.

The Spirit Bear disappeared.

Because Cole and the bear belonged to the same landscape now, Cole still felt the bear inside. He closed his eyes, remembering.


Isn't that all nice and new-agey and make you feel all warm and fluffy inside? It could be indigestion though. But once again, Cole has gone though a total character shift. All of a sudden he's gone all spiritual and for lack of a better word, native, all because he's realized how to become invisible. That night he builds himself a party for one. A large bonfire, good food, and savors the food. And then for some reason he knows that he's ready to dance the dance of anger. We don't know why he knows that he's ready to dance the dance of anger, just that he does.

The dance consists of him yelling and screaming and hitting things. No, really. At the end he calls out, "I'm sorry, please forgive me, I didn't mean to hurt Peter." and then, "I forgive you." And that's the end.

His dance is more like a tantrum. But then again, I'm not really sure what the point of these dances are. Except to give Cole magical life lessons. I wonder what the dance of the cat would be like.

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