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The bear's embrace : a true story of…
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The bear's embrace : a true story of surviving a grizzly bear attack (2000)

by Patricia Van Tighem

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When hiking on a snow covered path in the Canadian rockies, life forever changed for Patricia Van Tighem and her husband. In a fast second, a large grizzly bear attacked. The first mauling swipe damaged her husband. As Patricia desperately climbed, the bear battered itself against the tree, violently knocking her to the ground. Aiming to kill, the bear nearly succeeded in his goal.

As she and her husband were helped by fellow hikers, they desperately clung to both their severely damaged bodies and their lives.

This is a riveting, dramatic story of a horrific attack and the slow, courageous journey toward healing. Losing her eye, facing years of multiple surgeries, coping with severe, permanent disfigurement, excruciating painful infections, and barely clinging to sanity, Van Tighem tells her story in an honest and raw manner.

Years of post tramatic stress rendered the author helpless and emotionally vulnerable. She was strong, but throughout her remaining years, suffered from severe depression and numerous institutionalizations.

While my description of the book sounds depressing, this is also a story of courage and of coping against all odds.

Specifically, I recommend this book to those who deal with long-term health conditions and/ or multiple surgeries. There is tremendous strength simply putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

My only quarrel with the book is that the ending is too neat and tidy. After pages of pain, the author felt the need to put a red ribbon on the package and end with a contrived happy few paragraphs of song and dance. It is sad that the author could not remain true to her feelings and trust that the readers would accept her journey and struggles.

The book was written in 2001. Feeling the incongruency of the ending, I searched further and discovered that the author died of suicide in 2005. ( )
15 vote Whisper1 | Nov 6, 2009 |
Very depressing and now it's hard to walk peacefully in the woods. I don't think I have ever felt so bad for a family. ( )
  mdee | Mar 30, 2009 |
This is an amazing story of surviving a grizzle bear attack, but with horrible injuries and surgeries and continued pain. Unfortunately, the author couldn't live with the aftereffects and sadly committed suicide some years after the book was published. It remains an amazing story of survival. ( )
  Scrabblenut | May 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375421319, Hardcover)


An extraordinary story of survival and recovery by a woman who was attacked by a grizzly bear.

On a sunny fall day in 1983, Patricia Van Tighem and her husband, Trevor, began a hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies with a two-thousand-foot climb through rocks and forest. The next morning, in a landscape dusted by snow, they crossed paths with a grizzly bear–and their lives were forever changed.

That Van Tighem survived at all is a miracle, and her account of the attack is vivid and startling. But her recovery was just as disturbing: Her numerous reconstructive surgeries were painful; her facial
disfigurement isolated her; and the nightmares that haunted her carried their own psychological burden. Yet she was eventually able to accept her unthinkable experiences, and to put her life back together as a survivor, a wife, and a mother.

With honesty and eloquence, The Bear’s Embrace tells of the unpredictability of life, of bravery, terror, rage and love, of what it means to look and feel different in a culture that values perfection. Uncommonly affecting, often astonishing, The Bear’s Embrace is an inspiring story of human
perseverance and self-knowledge.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

She was attacked by a grizzly ; her survival, physically and mentally.

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