Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Book Review: The Bear Went Over the Mountain

I just finished reading "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" by William Kotzwinkle.

The book starts with a university professor on sabbatical in the wilds of Maine. He's there to write a book. Ok, he goes off into the wilds to write a ripoff of a popular book. But his cabin burns down and destroys his only copy of the finished manuscript. So he rebuilds the cabin and writes another book that isn't a ripoff. Fearing another cabin fire, he keeps his only copy in a briefcase hidden at the base of a pine tree where the low hanging branches hide it. But a bear sees him hiding the final manuscript and, thinking it's food, investigates. He reads the book, thinks it's pretty good, dresses like a human, and takes it into New York to find a publisher.

Thinking him the new Hemingway, the publishers sign him with a generous contract and send him all over the country to promote his new book. He has to learn how to behave in the city, how to fight his instincts, and most of all not get discovered and tossed in a zoo.

Meanwhile, as the bear slowly overcomes his bearlike nature, the professor finds himself slowly taking on the features, instincts, and senses of a bear.

Near the end of the book the professor comes out of hibernation in the middle of winter to find that his book has become a number one bestseller. He goes off to sue the bear for his book back.

This is a fairly light read that won't tax you at all. The story is engaging enough that you won't want to put it down. It's funny enough that you'll spend most of the book stifling laughs if you're reading it in public. I highly recommend it.

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