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Touching Spirit Bear

Audio book - 2001

Lee Tergesen lends his resonant voice to a five-hour, four-cassette, unabridged reading of "Touching Spirit Bear." 

The book was written by Ben Mikaelsen, and it's an adventure story with strong moral underpinnings. It's written for youths -- the target reader is 9 to 12 years old -- but the story is gripping and full of good lessons for any age.

The audio book adds another layer to the experience; Lee's reading adds texture and dimension to the story.

A review in AudioFile magazine noted:

"Lee Tergesen faces the formidable task of portraying a thoroughly unsympathetic main character in a manner that offers the listener a reason to care."

That main character is Cole Matthews, an angry 15-year-old. He is described as a "baby-face con man" who's  been fighting and stealing and lying for years. He's also been beaten regularly by his father and neglected by his mother. His crimes and rage finally escalate to the point that he beats another boy senseless. 

The links at right give a good summary of the story, including this one, by Emilie Coulter for Amazon.com:

"Ben Mikaelsen's depiction of a juvenile delinquent's metamorphosis into a caring, thinking individual is exciting and fascinating, if at times heavy-handed. Cole's nastiness and the vivid depictions of the lengths he must go to survive after the (equally vivid) attack by the bear are excruciating at times, but the concept of finding a way to heal a whole community when one individual wrongs another is compelling."

Back cover of audio book

Related Links

The author's Web page for the book

Reviews of the book and audio tape