Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo


Mimi Thebo is another member of our illustrious writing group. She has written both  adult and children’s fiction and is a senior lecturer in creative studies at Bath Spa University. Dreaming the Bear is a novel for older children set in Yellowstone National Park. Mimi Thebo, who hails originally from Kansas, spent several summers in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and her descriptions of it have great reality.

Darcy, the main narrator of Dreaming the Bear, is a bored early teen who is uprooted from her school, her friends and her urban life when her father takes on a research job at Yellowstone. Darcy and her older brother Jem are living with their father in a cabin on the edge of the park; their mother is still in England. It’s the middle of winter with thick snow everywhere, and Darcy is recovering from pneumonia. She can’t go to school and has to walk every day to build up her strength. On one of her walks she climbs higher than she can manage and, exhausted, falls down near a cave where there is a female grizzly bear. To her surprise, the bear takes care of her. Darcy goes back to the cave and despite bear safety protocols begins to develop a close bond with the bear, who has been shot and wounded in the shoulder.

When the family is snowed in, Darcy becomes ill again. She and Tony Infante, the son of a neighbour, start to develop a friendship but she doesn’t tell him or anyone else about the bear. She recovers and when the weather starts to thaw she begins to worry about the bear, who should now be out foraging for food but is handicapped by the injury. Darcy secretly stockpiles food for the bear and takes it up to the cave, avoiding discovery for as long as she can. Eventually, still often unwell, she gets her brother to help her, but she knows that sooner or later the bear will come down from the mountain to scavenge in the town.

The book pivots around Darcy’s relationship with the bear and their close connection. Parts of it are written from the bear’s point of view, and at times when Darcy is seriously ill and out of her body she connects deeply with the bear. Through Darcy’s involvement with the bear Mimi Thebo shows us, touchingly and affectionately, how her human relationships begin to grow, especially that with her father. Her teen romance is handled with a light touch and we see her closeness to her brother. By the time her mother arrives at the end of the book, she has discovered the cause of her recurring illness and found the strength within herself to deal with a tough situation.

The book is far from all sweetness and light and will have great appeal for young teens who are on the brink of stepping into a more adult world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even though it’s a long time since I was a teenager!



About thebelatedwriter

I'm a baby boomer who has always wanted and tried to write. It was only when I did an MA in Creative Writing in 2010-11 that I dared to take my writing more seriously. I write both poetry and prose and have had a number of poems published. This blog is for my writing friends, my non-writing friends, and anyone else who may be interested in these ruminations.
This entry was posted in Other reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo

  1. doctormimi says:

    Oh. You. DARLING.

    Many, many thanks!


    On 28 September 2016 at 18:36, The Belated Writer wrote:

    > thebelatedwriter posted: ” Mimi Thebo is another member of our illustrious > writing group. She has written both adult and children’s fiction and is a > senior lecturer in creative studies at Bath Spa University. Dreaming the > Bear is a novel for older children set in Yellowstone N” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s