Book Review: Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

November 16, 2020 – Sarah Vohsen, Adult Services

This column was first published in the November 2020 issue of The Best Years (TBY).

Danny’s wife died in a car accident about a year ago, leaving him without the income or the motivation to make ends meet. Now Danny is behind on the bills, he’s two months late on the rent and his most recent run-in with his landlord has cost him his job. With limited skills and very little time left before his landlord breaks his legs as payment for his overdue debt, Danny searches for any jobs that will help him catch back up. But after exhausting his options for stable work, he decides to take a risk and become a street performer.

But his lifestyle isn’t the only thing that has fallen apart since Liz’s death. Danny’s relationship with Will, who has not spoken to anyone since his mother’s death, has also become distant. And Danny doesn’t know how to get the boy to even look at him, much less talk to him. It definitely doesn’t help that Danny hasn’t told Will about the threat to his legs or their lifestyle, not to mention his embarrassing job as a dancing panda in the park. Danny’s life is crumbling around him, but he never believed a five-dollar panda suit—that smells like a frat party gone wrong—would be the solution to all of his problems, especially after his horrible first day dancing in the park. With a little help from a dancer and a lot of practice, Danny might be able to salvage the life he never realized was so close to disappearing.

I didn’t really know what to expect from James Gould-Bourn’s Bear Necessity. I knew it would be a story about a father and son reconnecting with each other, but I didn’t realize that the fast plot and the unique characters would be so fun to read. The dialogue in the latter half of the book was humorous, but it did get a bit explicit in some sections. Overall, this was not something I would normally read, but I enjoyed the story even though I would have liked to see the characters develop a bit more slowly. I would recommend this to anyone looking for realistic fiction that is looking for something a bit comical without too much depth. This book is available in print at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

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