It’s time for another submission in my personal Oddity Odyssey Challenge and today’s book is an absolute doozy, qualifying for submission in THREE categories – odd title (as you’ll see), odd character (murderous teddy bear) and odd subject matter (is this weak adult horror or vulgarity-laden middle-grade?). If you don’t know anything about the Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge for 2015, I invite you to click here and find out more. And then join in.
I received a copy of today’s book from the publisher via Netgalley in return for review. I say I “received” it, but as soon as I saw the cover, combined with the spectacularly understated title, I decided I must read it as soon as possible. But let’s crack on. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads for The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave by J. H. Moncrieff.
Sometimes evil looks like a fuzzy teddy bear.Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant to accept a well-worn stuffed teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy…and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things begin to happen.Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ efforts rebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth—Edgar will always get even.
Check that cover. Isn’t it just brilliant? And the title: absolute gold. While this book isn’t going to be winning any awards for the quality of the writing or, indeed, the scariness of the horror, it is a fun, light read that will scratch an itch if you’re in need of a bit of quirky creepiness.
I had a bit of a problem situating this story in my mind though. It’s listed as “adult horror” but features a ten-year-old main character and reads (despite some ear-blistering swear words and a few extreme disciplinary measures) EXACTLY like a middle-grade book. There’s the lovable Josh, who’s dad has died and is just trying to get by with his mum and evil stepfather – and the step-father really is evil in this story; in fact, he’s the most horrifying element of the book by far. There’s the mother who wants to believe her son, but is clouded by a controlling spouse. There’s Josh’s mate Sean who is drawn in to the unbelievable stalkiness of Edgar the murderous panda.
And in the end…well, it’s all a bit predictable really. It’s like the author set out to write a really pedestrian story and then jazzed it up (which I fully appreciate) with an awesome-sauce cover and the title of least resistance.
Once again, I don’t suspect that this is going to satisfy adult readers of horror in any way, but for a fun diversion featuring a fluffy despot who just wants to be loved, you really can’t go past *cue deep movie trailer voiceover * The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave!
Progress toward Oddity Odyssey Challenge Goal: 8 (I think…I’m starting to lose track)/16
Until next time: