I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on THE YEAR OF THE BEAR by Douglas J. Lanzo &
Ambassador International. Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
About The Book:
Title: THE YEAR OF THE BEAR
Author: Douglas J. Lanzo
Pub. Date: November 1, 2022
Publisher: Ambassador International
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
A remarkable story of a bear and the coming-of-age journey of a teenage boy.
Thirteen-year-old Jason is on the cusp of manhood, striving to find his place at school and at home—especially after his mother has abandoned them and his father is left to deal with his own anger. When Jason and his father encounter a bear while out hunting, they shoot and kill it, not realizing that they have left a cub without its mother. When Sasquot of the Penobscot Tribe, a part of the Bear Family, discovers what they have done, he decides that Jason needs a lesson in caring for God’s creatures. Thus begins a year that Jason will never forget as he begins to care for and train the cub in order for it to survive. As Jason forms a bond with the bear, he, in turn, learns valuable lessons for life.
“Fans of classic, enthralling adventure (and I’m one) are in for a rare treat.”-Josh Lieb
New York Times best-selling and Emmy Award-winning author of I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President
Now on to my review of THE YEAR OF THE BEAR:
The book begins with a dramatic scene of thirteen-year-old Jason and his father chasing a grey wolf who captured one of their lambs. Very exciting beginning that had me reading on to see what happens next, which is the encounter of a mother black bear who, unbeknownst to Jason and his father, was defending her cub. Jason's father kills the bear but later when Jason goes back to the scene with Sasquot, their Penobscot hired hand, they discover the cub. Sasquot suggests that Jason raise the cub and teach it to survive in the wilderness. The cub, who he names Coda, soon becomes attached to Jason, and Jason becomes attached to the cub and a friendship is born.
The author, Douglas J. Lanzo, does a fabulous job describing the Maine countryside and wildlife. I can tell the author has done extensive research, not only on the Penobscot Tribe's history and customs but also on how they used tools from nature to fish, hunt, cook, and build canoes and other artifacts. The author also does well describing and showing the bear's personality and reactions. The best comparison of this book, I feel, is THE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Engels, which also has these elaborate explanations of how settlers and farmers survived during the 1800s. While THE YEAR OF THE BEAR is set in 1985, it still has this feel of a time long forgotten.
I enjoyed the coming-of-age story of Jason and all of the hurdles that he must overcome, from raising a black bear cub, dealing with bullies at school, a father who's distracted and hurt, a mother who abandons him, and a newfound interest in Sasquot's daughter. This book would be ideal for boys who love to read about the wilderness and Native American culture and folklore. Plus these life lessons learned by Jason would be great talking points for teachers and parents.
I give THE YEAR OF THE BEAR ⭐⭐⭐ three and 1/2 stars because of all of the points above but also because I felt that the voice was that of an adult reminiscing versus that of a thirteen-year-old boy. I also would like the author to show more of how Jason felt during many of these tragic life events. Instead, Jason comes across as aloof throughout the book, such as when his mother asks him to meet her new male doctor friend and her move to Boston.
Overall, this book is highly recommended for outside classroom reading for students who are studying American history, particularly Native American Tribes. It will provide another extension of what life was like for the Penobscot Tribe and life in 1985 Maine.
About Douglas J. Lanzo:
An award-winning and featured inspirational author published in Vita Brevis Press’ bestselling 2021 poetry anthology and Café Haiku’s upcoming 2021 Fifth Poetry Anthology and featured in WestWard Quarterly’s Winter 2021 issue, since 2020 Douglas’ poetry has found homes in thirty-eight literary publications across the U.S., Canada, England, Wales, Austria, Mauritius, India, Australia, and The Caribbean. A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, where Douglas enjoyed writing editorials for The Harvard Crimson and articles for various other Harvard publications, he has published professional legal articles throughout his career. A General Counsel by day and writer by night, Douglas resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and twelve-year-old identical twin boys, fellow published poets, enjoying nature, traveling, biking, tennis, and chess.
1 Winner will receive a finished copy of THE YEAR OF THE BEAR, US Only.
It ends November 29th, midnight EST.
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