Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Book Review: Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn


Danny’s life is falling apart. He’s become a single father to eleven-year-old Will—who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash a year earlier—and Danny has just been fired from his construction job. To make matters worse, he’s behind on the rent and his nasty landlord is threatening to break his legs if he doesn’t pay soon. Danny needs money, and fast.

After observing local street performers in a nearby park, Danny spends his last few dollars on a tattered panda costume, impulsively deciding to become a dancing bear. While performing one day, Danny spots his son in the park and chases off the older boys who are taunting him. Will opens up for the first time since his mother’s death, unaware that the man in the panda costume is his father. Afraid of disclosing his true identity, Danny comforts his son. But will Danny lose Will’s trust once he reveals who he is? And will he be able to dance his way out of debt, or be beaten up before he has a chance?

Filled with a colorful cast of characters, Bear Necessity is a refreshingly unpretentious and ultimately uplifting story of a father and son reconnecting in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Bear Necessity is about a single father, Danny, who is struggling to connect with his son, Will, who hasn’t spoken since his mother died in a car wreck. Danny is struggling to make ends meet when he loses his job and decides to become a street performer with an old panda costume he was able to afford. While working in the park he saves Will from a group of boys who are tormenting him and Will opens up about everything to the panda-not Danny. They begin this relationship that Danny is conflicted about because on one hand he finally gets Will to open up but on the other, he knows this is a bad idea to take advantage of Will’s trust. 

This story was a very short read but even though it was small in pages it was BIG and fulfilling within those pages. The heartbreak of not knowing how to reach your child is one that many parents, single or not know and struggle with. 

I will say that there were a lot of parts that were too long or overly explained that didn’t need to be. I wish they would have left these details out and have more substance to the characters themselves. It was an interesting look into how everyone needs to move on from grief but not everyone takes the same path to do so-everyone heals differently. 

This is a great read filled with a lot of humor and then also a lot of sadness that almost brought a few tears to my eyes. There was a great balance where I enjoyed reading it but still got to experience some emotions without being completely drug down by sadness. 

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