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The Bear Who Broke the World

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4.46  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  9 reviews
"A tender, profoundly moving account of love and abandonment, loyalty and deception. Justin McFarr's debut novel is at once a heartwarming ode to brotherly love and filial attachment, and a heartbreaking tale of the small and large devastations inflicted upon the young."

- Gina B. Nahai, author of Cry of the Peacock and The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.

My first memory from the
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Paperback, First, 402 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Wheeler Street Press
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Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
I basically stayed on the couch for the entire day...inhaling this psychologically astute, deeply affecting fabulous book about a couple of All-Star-latchkey kids in Berkeley, California...the summer of 1976 ....a time before the word *latchkey* was a universal understood word. I was rooting for the kids in this story. I also was right back home - in my home town during this time period —A TERRIFIC NOVEL which captures the feeling of being a SPECIFIC TYPE OF KID.... that some of us remember ALL ...more
Anita Pomerantz
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
There's some five star storytelling in this book that tells a tale of two brothers growing up with their mother and her feckless boyfriend in the hippie culture of Berkeley, CA in the 70's. I loved the portrayal of Steven's relationship with his little brother (protective) and his very "hands off" mother. There are some very heartwarming moments, and I liked how the author portrayed the boyfriend as not abusive, but also not exactly embracing of his role in the family.

However, I can also see
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Paige P
I have no idea why this novel has not had more publicity, it is by far the best novel I have read this year. If you grew up in the 70’s, you will especially love this story of a neglected 10 year old boy do his best to protect his brother and to survive the pitfalls of his childhood in California. 5+++++
John Young
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel kept me reading day and night. The characters are so well developed that I followed along anxiously trying to see if the young hero, Stephen, would survive the neglect and absence of his parents. Unofficially charged with caring for his young brother, Stephen must try to make sense of and survive morally bankrupt adults from Berkeley in the mid 70's who live as though Stephen and his little brother are no more relevant than a coffee table. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, this ...more
Jessica
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Bear Who Broke The World" is a lovely, glorious novel that is hard to forget. The boy protagonist, Daedalus "Stephen" O'Neill, and his younger brother, Damien, are abandoned early on by their father and emotionally-absent mother. Set in Berkely during the summer of 1976, the mother and her loathsome boyfriend treat the boys, especially Stephen, as hindrances to their freewheeling lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and debauched house parties.

What makes the book so special is the relationship
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donna DeLacy
Apr 20, 2017 marked it as to-read
It's not often (and I am a prolific reader) that I find a novel that is compelling in so many ways.
The protagonist Stephen and his younger brother are growing up in 70's in Berkeley with a mother who is haphazard and neglectful and the mother's feckless live-in boyfriend. With a dialog driven narrative and a story that moves quickly, the well drawn characters emerge and you can't help but feel the tension, contradictions and suspense in Stephen's life. I was completely drawn in as a witness to
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Walter Soellner
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cross-posted from Amazon:
Justin McFarr, thank you for taking me back to my childhood with the children you introduce to us in 'The Bear Who Broke The World'. I also had a younger friend, Mikie, when I was 12 or so. We experienced several of the same harrowing events, adventures and family strife that the two main characters, Daedalus and Demian live in this wonderful novel.

The idealism of youth and their naivete: "my quest for the perfect first day of summer." If only their summer worked out
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LA
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine. I have read one of his short stories and loved it. I was looking forward to reading this novel. It didn't disappoint.

The author has a real sense of the inner life of a child. He gives this story energy and movement, while still capturing the meandering feeling of the passing of time which children experience.

I found the book compelling and moving, and I recommend it.
Noel Krueger
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a rich, powerful book about a boy forced to grow up much too fast. I loved it.
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Justin McFarr’s debut novel, The Bear Who Broke the World, was released by Wheeler Street Press in 2017. His book of short stories, Controlled Chaos, came out in April, 2019.

Justin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 70's and 80's as a latchkey kid, and is a proud graduate of both UCLA and the MPW program at USC. He has attended the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore
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“When you're ten, the worst ideas in the world can somehow seem like the greatest ideas ever imagined. That's why my friends and I jumped off roofs and swung bats at wasps' nests and shoved our penises into thin-necked soda bottles. Not because any of those decisions were particularly smart, but because we could.” 0 likes
“He lifted the whiskey to his lips. It was the same russet color as the benches, creating an illusion of Ken drinking liquid wood.” 0 likes
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