- Touching Spirit Bear
Infobox Book |
name = Touching Spirit Bear
language = English
series = N/A
genre = Teen's novel
publisher = Harper Collins
January 23, 2001
media_type = Print (
pages = 241 pages
isbn = ISBN 0-060-73400-0
"Touching Spirit Bear" is a 2001 teen's
novelwritten by the American author, Ben Mikaelsen.
Cole Matthews had been angry all his life. He got away with all his misdeeds, blaming his mistakes on his alcoholic mother and violent father. But after his attack on a student named Peter Driscal after school one day, he had finally gone too far.
Cole had a hearing and the judge gave him two choices: to serve a sentence in jail or to go through a system called Circle Justice. Circle Justice is based on Native American tradition. It is a way of healing, rather than punishment for one's wrong deeds. Cole, being ignorant and obnoxious, decided he would take Circle Justice because it was the easy way out of jail. His
parole officer, Garvey, recommended banishing him to an island. Cole also saw this as the easy way out and agreed.Once Cole was on the island, in a fit of rage, he burned the shelter a TlingitIndian named Edwin built for him. After failing to try to swim off the island, Cole saw a white bear Edwin had described as a Spirit Bear. Cole, angered by the Spirit Bear, which did not fear him, attacked it with a spear. However, the bear was much more powerful than him, and it pounded him to the ground and mauled him nearly to death.
In Cole's time lying, helpless and dying, on the forest floor, he watched the animals living and thriving. This is the part where he changes his mind and finds out that life is valuable and that he would do anything not to lose it. He realized that all of life is a circle. After harsh days of hunger and pain, Cole was found, taken back to his home in
Minneapolis, Minnesotaand then had many surgeries for his body, which made him look no better than a torn up rag. He was then re-sentenced to the island, except the second time Garvey and Edwin stayed with him for a short while. Garvey and Edwin taught Cole many things. Edwin showed Cole several exercises to help release his anger. After a year on the island Cole had truly changed. He regretted for what he had done to Peter and tried his best to control his anger.
After Peter Driscal attempted suicide, he was in very poor health. Cole recommended that he come to the island so Peter can change just like he did. Peter came, reluctantly, to the island completely terrified and withdrawn from Cole. Peter did not believe Cole really ever saw a Spirit Bear. Peter really started to try to get revenge in several petty ways. As Cole carved his totem pole, Peter wrecked his bear carving. For several weeks Peter struggled to trust Cole until, one day, Peter finally saw the bear himself. After a one-sided fight and a sincere apology, Peter finally trusted Cole and helped him repair the destroyed bear carving. He also helped Cole fill in the empty space on the totem pole reserved for anger.
Sequel: There is a sequel to Touching Spirit Bear. It is called The Ghost of Spirit Bear
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