A KILLING SEASON by Barbara Brenner


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An object-lesson in wildlife management (species: Pennsylvania black bears)--spiked with a conventional set of teenage miseries. A year ago, 16-year-old Allie Turner lost her parents in a fire that also badly scarred her hand; now she's a self-deprecating stutterer tyrannized by ""mean,"" boozing, pot-smoking brother Billy, 21--whose ""scars never healed"" either. Allie has a soft spot for the local bear population; Billy and his low-down friend Jim hunt them--and kill one because Allie dopily lets out that they haunt a homestead where they've been (unwisely) fed. Enter young wildlife biologist/game commission official Don Bridges: love/hate interest. Don takes ""Turner"" (as he calls her) into the woods to see how he tags and studies the bears; she takes better and better photos of them; they continue to argue the merits of hunting seasons. He's trying to get her to take charge of her life; she's discovering her body (with her hands too). Then, a local college puts on an exhibition of her ""too controversial"" (for others) bear pictures, entitled A KILLING SEASON; and when that year's bear-hunting season is cancelled, everyone credits/blames her. (She isn't responsible--there were too many shot the previous year.) But Allie's favorite bear, Eve, is shot, season or no, by unregenerate Jim--who then duly dies of overexposure in the cold. ""What difference did it all make.? It was all bout the same thing. Death and dying."" But, on a sign that Jim is coming around, Allie pulls herself together--ready maybe to get rid of the scar (by surgery), definitely ready to speak her feelings, without stuttering, to Don. ""After all, this is only the first act."" Some worthwhile bear and bear-conservation lore; otherwise, junk.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Four Winds