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.

Touching Spirit Bear
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