Monday, 19 September 2011


This is my personal review of TJ Klune's current release with Dreamspinner...


Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.
Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world... something or someone.


Rating:  5 LULU'S

I would like to start this review by saying one thing....Jessewave have no idea how much you should be kicking yourself right now for refusing to review this utter delight, simply because of a sentence that implies straight sex has been had.  Bear, Otter & the Kid is a true to life story of a man coming to terms with the realisation that he prefers men...well one man in particular actually, and what man when flailing around in the sea of confusion hasn't tried both courses before deciding he likes the dessert more than the main? 

Now that I've got that off my chest--

TJ Klune has woven a story so heart-rending and hear-warming at the same time, that you don't even realise you're crying for joy one minutes and sobbing like a five year old the next, well not until your Kindle almost shorts out on you!

Bear is the epitome of the best big brother in the world, who makes the ultimate sacrifice for Ty, the Kid.  What else is he supposed to do but step up to the plate when their mother walks out when Ty is six and Bear is seventeen?  What does he do, when he is no more than a kid himself?  He makes sure that the Kid's world is stable, and warm and safe, even if his own is crumbling around him.

Otter has been a part of Bear's life for as long as he can remember.  His best friend's older brother.  The one who has always made him feel safe.  His anchor.  Keeping him above water when he thought the waves would drag him under.  The one who swore that he would never leave, that he would always be there.  Until he wasn't.  But then he comes back and Bear's world is turned upside down again...because with Otter's return comes all the confusing and gut-tingling feelings that Bear has had for so long but has never examined, never acknowledged. 

And the Kid.  Oh, my, God!  The Kid!  He is absolutely fantastic.  A tiny eco-terrorist in training, the only eight year old vegetarian Bear knows and an IQ that's probably higher than everyone's put together.  But for all of his procrastinations, and his attempts to guide others away from the meat the heart of it all is the fact that he's just a little boy, whose big brother is the only father he has ever known, or needed.

And of course the other cast of this marvellous movie, because that what reading this book was like, it was like sitting on the sidelines of some wonderful film that you couldn't tear your eyes from or get up to make a cup of tea in case you missed anything.  There's Creed, the cool best friend who knows there's something going on but can't put his finger on it.  Then we have Anna, Bear's long time on/off girlfriend who knows what's going on in Bear's head before he does.  And Mrs Paquinn the neighbor who looks out for the boys next door...did you know she used to drive stock cars?  They are all important and have a story of their own mixed in with Bear's fight to find himself and Otter.

I cannot recommend TJ's first book highly enough.  Cannot jump up and down high enough (besides the kids keep telling me I look stupid) at the rollercoaster of emotions this story sends you on.  If I could give him a hundred Lulu's I would, but since they only go up to five, he'll have to be happy with that--oh, and the sandwich board I plan on walking around town wearing with the book cover on it.

So go buy not pass not collect two hundred dollars...go...go on...

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