The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek by Sid Marty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Last year, my husband almost bumped into a black bear, so we both picked "bear books" to read when we went back to the area this summer.
The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek was my choice. I have compared this book to John Valliant's book The Tiger. I preferred The Tiger because of personal bias: I really enjoyed how Valliant incorporates Russian history into his exposition and delivers suspense to the max.
On the other hand, some readers hated Valliant's diversion from the main story. The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek sticks to the facts--as much as it is able. The book outlines the hunt for an elusive bear who mauled tourists in Banff. The author spends a good portion of the book telling the story from the bear's point of view. Based on his expertise, I'm willing to trust what Sid Marty has to say about how and why this bear began to attack humans. Still, at the end of the book, no one has any clear answers. Perhaps this ambiguity is an important lesson to take away when dealing with wildlife.
I found that The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek was not as suspenseful as The Tiger, due to its straightforward narrative structure. As well, some of the book felt dated: The events and procedures happened in 1980, and are an indication of how far (or little) we have come.
I did learn that bears suffer from both hunting and anti-hunting lobbies, as well as human hubris when we encroach on the bear's habitat by putting in "parks...for people". These parks include restaurants, hotels, and hiking and biking trails. We expect the wilderness to be tame for us.
After reading The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek I have much more respect for the power of a bear and would not take a subsequent encounter so lightly.
One last, but important thing to add: Sid Marty also writes poetry, and it splendidly shows in this book.
p.s. Here's a second opinion: http://www.abdou.ca/litpicks/litpicks_grizzly.html
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