In the Castle of the Bear

Steve Senn, Author Atheneum Books $0 (135p) ISBN 978-0-689-31167-3
I don't think adults know how mean they seem to us,'' says 12-year-old Jason Barnett's sympathetic friend. Jason's mother is dead; he has to live in the castle-like house owned by Lauren, his father's new wife, in a strange town. The boy is sure Lauren is a witch, and he dreams of her familiar, the Bear, a killer that draws ever nearer to him. When the stepmother quits her job and tries to paint professionally, her cherished ambition, Jason loses the privacy at home after school, hours he had devoted to writing poetry. Lauren tries to establish a loving relationship with Jason, appealing to him as a person like her, driven by creative forces, but he rebuffs her consistently. In the novel's climax, Jason runs to seek his ""final sanctuary'' from the beast by jumping to his death off the church tower. Lauren races after Jason and persuades him to recognize his face in the Bear, a product of his own nightmarish hates. Senn's novel is a skillful portrayal of the torments suffered by ultra-sensitive young people. Readers will wish, however, that the author had given examples of Jason's poetrya major facet of the storyand may wonder why he misspells the middle name of his idol, Poe. (913)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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