James Gould-Bourn's debut novel, Bear Necessity, is one of those feel good books.
Danny's wife died in a tragic auto accident a year ago. Their eleven year old son Will has not spoken a word since. They're both struggling with her loss. And adding to the mix, Danny has lost his job and he's desperately behind in his debts.
What to do? Well, a walk through the park provides him with an idea - he'll become a street performer! Strapped for cash, he ends up with a worn out panda costume. And The Dancing Panda is born! Well.....kinda....sorta....
Danny is a great lead character, one you just can't help but like. Will, without a word, had me in his corner and in my heart. The supporting cast is just as delightful - Will's best friend Mo (who often speaks for him) is quite funny. Danny's best friend Ivan is gruff with a heart of gold. As is Crystal, a professional pole dancer. There's an eclectic group of street performers - one of which decides he is Danny's arch enemy.
Gould-Bourn's writing makes for easy listening. There are lots of light moments and joking, but folded into that are a father and son trying to negotiate their shared grief. Grief is different for everyone and I thought Danny and Will's loss and journey forward was well written.
Now, Bear Necessity is one of those stories that you just know is going to work out in the end. And truly that's why I listen or read them. I need some life affirming positivity in this crazy world. Listeners will absolutely find that in Bear Necessity.
As mentioned, I chose to listen to this title. The reader was Rupert Holliday-Evans. He did a fantastic job of bringing Gould-Bourn's story to life. He's a very versatile narrator. He provided many voices and accents that matched the mental images I had created for the characters. It was quite easy to know who was speaking. There's lot of enthusiasm in his reading. He easily depicts the emotions, action and more with ease. I quite enjoyed his reading. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Bear Necessity.