#BookReview Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliott @TinderPress

ABOUT THE BOOK

A life-affirming novel of love, loss and letting go – for readers of ELEANOR OLIPHANT, THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP and WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT On her forty-seventh birthday, Sydney Smith stands on a rooftop and prepares to jump…

Sydney is a cartoonist and freerunner. Feet constantly twitching, always teetering on the edge of life, she’s never come to terms with the event that ripped her family apart when she was ten years old. And so, on a birthday that she doesn’t want to celebrate, she returns alone to St Ives to face up to her guilt and grief. It’s a trip that turns out to be life-changing – and not only for herself.

DO NOT FEED THE BEAR is a book about lives not yet lived, about the kindness of others and about how, when our worlds stop, we find a way to keep on moving.

published by Tinder Press

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk  £15.25

whsmith  £13.29

waterstones  £18.99

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a really touching and emotional read featuring a cast of wonderful characters who are all dealing with their own grief and sadness, and how the kindness of others is sometimes the turning point in a life devoid of much hope and is able to give people a new perspective on what is happening in their life.

The story centres around Sydney who has dealt with some major trauma in her youth, and has carried that with her as she approaches her 47th birthday. Never really able to confront her emotions, she is a freerunner and uses that as an escape and a way of taking control over things she thinks she can’t control. Her partner Ruth is used to her ways, but still wishes she could open up more – she wants a little bit of normal in their life.

When Sydney takes herself off to a place that means so much, she is faced with new people and new outlooks. But still she can’t escape the past and you are very aware of the hold it has over all of her family and it was heartbreaking to read her thoughts as she remembered family holidays.

I loved the way the interconnecting stories flowed – from Belle the quiet soul who works in the local bookshop and hides herself away in routine and books, to Maria who wants to rescue the ‘angel’ she finds but seems unable to rescue herself. And I also loved the perspective of Stuart the dog – the family pet of Maria, Jon and Belle – it was just so cleverly written and very perceptive to have his thoughts on what was going on with his humans.

As Sydney, her father and her partner are made to face up to what happened in the past, it was really emotional to keep having their flashbacks and thoughts and to see how their prescence in this place is helping to shift the minds of the people they meet. It was so refreshing to read the different characters with such different outlooks on life – their hopes, their fears and the expectations you place on yourself and those around you.

Quirky, insightful and moving! Highly recommended!

★★★★
My thanks to the team at Tinder Press for my advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#20BooksOfSummer A New Map of Love by Abi Oliver #bookreview

Back on the reading challenge front!! And book 13 has now been finished! This wasn’t one of the books on my original list, but I found it while having a clearout and it fitted perfectly for the larger element of my challenge – 460 pages – and I found the audio version on the library Borrowbox app so I could listen to it as well!  

It was a little different to what I was expecting but still made for an enjoyable read!

ABOUT THE BOOK

How can you pack for the journey of a lifetime?

George Baxter has settled for a comfortable life, content as the years unfold predictably – until Win, his wife of twenty-six years, dies.

With his loyal dog Monty by his side, George throws himself into his work as an antiques dealer. His business is at the heart of the village and all sorts pass through the doors, each person in search of their own little piece of history. 

When George meets local widow Sylvia Newsome, he imagines a different kind of future. But life has more revelations to offer him. Over the course of an English summer George uncovers some unexpected mysteries from his past, which could shape his tomorrows . . .

Published by Pan MacMillan

MY REVIEW

This was a sweet and gentle paced read following George as he tries to get on with life following the death of his wife. He sees this as an opportunity to grab life and try new adventures but when faced with choices it seems he doesn’t really know what he wants and it shows him how much he misses his wife and realises how he may have taken her for granted while she was always around.

With his faithful dog, Monty, by his side there are many humorous observations to be had by the reader as you see him dealing with life on his own -always seemingly surrounded by a number of helpful (!) women who seem only too keen to care for him which he often takes full advantage of. 

I didn’t connect too well with George as he wasn’t the most likeable of characters – at first he seemed almost relived that his wife had died and would blame her for the fact he’d not been more adventurous and missed out on a few things because of her. 

It does a great job of showing the minefields of dating when you’re older, and the whole process of moving on and becoming too set in your ways to enjoy a change in routine. There was a big twist at the end which came out of nowhere which did add an extra element to the story and I think I would have liked more of that, than him dealing with various women throwing themselves at him! But it still made for an enjoyable read, and I listened to some of the audio version too which was brilliantly read and brought to life.

★★★