Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave by JH Moncrieff

I have to comment on the cover, it’s one of the scariest things I have seen in a long time. It was cruel of JHM and her cover artist Scott Carpenter to do this to a much loved childhood item, 43years later I still have my Grey Ted, the magic bear. If I thought he might grow teeth or do some of the horrific things that Edgar does I would be devastated.

Josh is the narrator of this particular childhood fears book, in what promises to be a superb series from Samhain publishers. 

Still deeply grieving the sudden death of his Father Josh is reluctant to take the ugly bear that Michael, the new man in the house, new husband and very unwanted stepfather, has given him.  

Edgar is an ugly, evil looking bear, and far to childish for the nearly grown up ten year old Josh to play with.  Edgar is soon banished to the closet, but he is a bear who wants to play whether you want to or not. 

Had to love Sean the substitute best friend and his strange swearing combinations, what a fabulous character.

Soon Edgar the Ugly is up to no good and Josh gets the blame and subsequent severe punishments.

I often felt that the real monster was clearly the step father who does some seriously grotesque and torturous things to a young boy, clearly still grieving the loss of his beloved father. A father who is still very present in Josh’s life via dreams and fear induced hazes.

Initially I felt all the hocus pocus was in Josh’s imagination but things soon take a real turn for reality, or supernatural!  A brilliant little scare tactic.

As Josh and Sean hatch plans to murder the bear in several ways I could not help but find the humour in it, JHM has a clever way of writing that makes even the serious have an edge of humour.

Murdering an evil bear though is not that simple, each attempt seems to come back with added extras for poor Josh.  The ending is left ambiguous – usually I hate when that happens but this has been written in such a way that to tidy the end would have taken some of the eeek out!

This is a first novella for JHM and I hope its not the last, her writing is very clean with great characters and a clear story line, attention to detail has clearly been taken.