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Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel

Review

Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel

Right below the title CHASING THE BEAR, the cover of Robert B. Parker’s latest book states that this is “A Young Spenser Novel.” Teens may not be familiar with the famous Spenser series, but this is a good introduction. Meet Spenser as a teen, or at least in his flashback stories while talking to his present-day wife, Susan. What led to Spenser becoming the tough but honorable P.I. of the bestselling adult series?

Spenser is raised by his father and two uncles, Patrick and Cash. His mother died while giving birth to him, so the three men determine to help him grow up to be a good person who can take care of himself. This involves boxing lessons and reading classic books every night. He carries the knife his father gave him for his eighth birthday at all times. When he is bullied by drunks in town, his father and uncles beat up the offenders. When he is hunting and encounters a bear, he knows what to do, but his father stands up next to him just in case. He has always known he can count on them and they will take care of him.

Things get a little more complicated, though, when he becomes a teen. Spenser is aware that his friend Jeannie’s father beats her, but he doesn’t know what to do about it. He is forced to decide on the spot when he sees her in a car with her father, and she is calling him for help. He immediately follows, and embarks on the adventure that will turn him into an adult overnight. Jeannie is held by her very drunk father on an island, and Spenser has to follow on a boat. Her father threatens him, but he hides and spies. He pulls Jeannie out, and they travel farther down the river away from her now-violent father. When it is clear that Jeannie’s father will continue to follow them, Spenser knows he must do something to save them both, even if it is drastic.

After that life-changing incident, Spenser and Jeannie sort of become boyfriend and girlfriend, but Spenser knows this is not the love of his life. He still wants to be her friend, and when she asks him to protect a Mexican boy from her neighborhood who is being bullied, he steps up. That action costs him as the boys in the town choose racial sides, yet he stands his ground.

In between stories, Spenser and his wife talk about how they did get together, finally, and know that they were meant for each other in funny conversations. While this volume helps fill in the background pieces for fans of the Spenser series, teen readers new to Parker will enjoy the decisions and approach Spenser has for his pretty tough dilemmas.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on May 14, 2009

Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel
by Robert B. Parker

  • Publication Date: March 18, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Speak
  • ISBN-10: 0142415731
  • ISBN-13: 9780142415733