A heartwarming, poignant, and charming debut novel for fans of Nick Hornby and The Rosie Project, about a father and son overcoming their grief in surprisingly inventive ways.
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.
James Gould-Bourn is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist from Manchester. He is a graduate of Faber Academy’s writing course. He was once a copywriter for the website Bored Panda and previously worked for landmine-clearance NGOs in Africa and the Middle East. Bear Necessity is his first novel. He lives in Lithuania.
"James Gould-Bourn’s novel is a comedy of sadness and dancing bears. That alone should convince you to pick up a copy, but I’ll add that it’s a delightful story about fatherhood and childhood. And dancing bears." —Owen King, author of Double Feature
"Fast, fresh and very very funny. Moving effortlessly from comedy to poignancy, it's a story of joy, of connection and of the overwhelming resilience of the human spirit. Reading it made me want to dance. An absolute gem of a book." —Katie Marsh, author of The Rest of Me
"A deeply comforting story... heartfelt themes and wit further elevate charming plot twists and a well-tuned cast of quirky, supporting characters who prove that the spirit of friendship can build bridges to greater understanding and brighter days. Gould-Bourn is a beautiful, perceptive writer who has crafted a moving, sensitive story that is also very funny. Bear Necessity is a perfect literary antidote to anxious, troubled times." —Shelf Awareness
"Refreshing.... a well-written, speedy read that focuses on the love between a dad and his son and how it can lead to friendship." —Kirkus Reviews
"Promising, sweet... a feel-good story about coping with grief." —Publishers Weekly