2 out of 4 stars
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The Bronze Bear Continues is a book by author Jerry A. Greenberg. It is the third book in the Bronze Bear trilogy. Reading the third without reading the first and second books won't make you feel as if you are lost as the build up to the third book is explained really well in itself. It falls under the war genre and though the theme of war can be cold, heartless and ever present, at times this piece gives us warm wisps of love and sweet relationships between characters.
The book is about Randolph Warrenton from Chicago. He has come from a line of men who have fought for the United States Army during the World Wars. His grandfather Fred fought in World War 1 and his father Larry fought in World War 2 respectively. Propelled by the pressure of people around him enlisting to join the army, Randy enrolls himself to fight in the Vietnam War over in Southeastern Asia. To keep himself safe, his father lends him a secret family heirloom: the Bronze Bear.
This 1000 year old talisman has protected and advised his father and grandfather through wars and life. It holds the spirit of a great bear who can come to the aid of whoever is intrusted with the talisman. The holder has to be a man (there is also a woman talisman) who is trustworthy and honest. As much as Bear (yes the bear's name is Bear) is there to provide guidance in advice and also physical protection - he does not make the carrier of the talisman fully immortal. Young Randy is not much of a fighter by character. Having a bachelor's degree in journalism and a passion for writing - he regards his typewriter as his weapon. With the Bronze Bear in his pocket and now newly drafted in to join the fighting war effort - can he outmanoeuvre the ruthless Viet Cong militia in the scorching tropical jungles of Vietnam and arrive home alive in one piece?
I gave this book a 2 stars out of 4. What I liked about the book was Greenberg's idea of the talisman and Bear. I also loved his covering of Randy's time in Vietnam. The writing also offered a few beautiful quotes like when Bear told Randolph: "It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone if they make you feel whole about yourself."
The layout of the book also forms a part of the reading experience of it. What I disliked about the book was the layout as the pages had no numbers. The book contained simple cursive-like design motifs at the start of each chapter. Visually they were pixelated and looked unpleasing because of that. The three asterixes or dinkuses (***) which denote a change of scenery or place (of which happened an innumerable amount of times in the story) were also badly pixelated. It did affect the way I read the story.
What I also never like was when the book ended (what an ending by the way), the author never leave the rest of the page blank to let the reader have a breather and think about the conclusion. He immediately writes on the next line without even leaving a breathing space exactly this:
"If you liked reading this book, please comment
favorably on Amazon and tell a friend about it"
Those lines carried on a little more. I honestly wished he saved it for the next page. I say this because it dragged me straight out of the story and dropped me back into reality really fast.
I did not want to give Greenberg 1 star because I did feel his effort but I also felt it was not worth 3 stars because mostly of the presentation, so that is where my 2 stars came from.
I would recommend this book for children 13 years and older but also adults. Jerry's chosen words are easy going in most of the book which makes it a mostly smooth and flowing read. Besides the war theme there is a lot in the story that speaks about the importance of family and friendships in life.
The Bronze Bear Continues
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