Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bear Necessity” as Want to Read:
Bear Necessity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bear Necessity

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 ratings  ·  453 reviews
A heartwarming, poignant, and charming debut novel for fans of Nick Hornby and The Rosie Project, about a father and son overcoming their grief in surprisingly inventive ways.

Danny’s life is falling apart. He’s become a single father to eleven-year-old Will—who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash a year earlier—and Danny has just been fired from his
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Scribner (first published May 2nd 2020)
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn
    Bear Necessity

    Release date: Jun 15, 2021
    A “refreshing,” (Kirkus Reviews) unpretentious, and uplifting story about a father and son reconnecting and finding happiness in the most unlikely cir ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 25 copies available, 2806 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jun 11 - Jun 30, 2021

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
    This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.99  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,551 ratings  ·  453 reviews

    More filters
    Sort order
    Start your review of Bear Necessity
    May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
    Bear Neccesity is the story of a father trying to connect with his son, who after the tragic death of his mother becomes completely silent and stops speaking.

    Danny loses his wife in a car crash and ends up becoming a single father to his 11-year-old son, Will. Will stops speaking after the death of his mother and also does not feel any `connection` to his father. He spends most of his time either with his friend Mo, walking in the park or in the closet in his bedroom. Danny, who is facing a fin
    Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    ”Who wants to be a zoologist when you could be helping pole dancers fight telekinetic wizards? That’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

    If that title doesn’t immediately have you singing . . . .

    Well, you probably aren’t a Boomer like me : (

    I snatched this from the library as soon as I saw the comparison to Nick Hornby. And once again, it was pretty spot on. You have the dead parent angle, a loveable loser, a kid you don’t want to punch in the face, a stripper with a heart of gold and so on.
    May 18, 2020 marked it as to-read
    Shelves: arc-reads
    This book smells like it could be a new favourite of mine.

    Thank you to Scribner for providing me with an arc.
    Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
    In this light comedy, a young widower is forced to become a street performer after he loses his construction job. He dresses up in a panda costume, but since he has no talent he doesn’t earn much until he is taught to dance by a pole dancer. His 11 year old son has been mute since the death of his mother, but he manages to talk to the panda.

    I thought this book was trying too hard to be both funny and heartwarming. There are a lot of quirky characters and ridiculous situations. It might make a c
    Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: contemporary
    Danny lost his wife in a car crash, and since that day, his son Will hasn’t spoken a word. Reeling from that loss, he has been keeping his head scarcely above water from one day to the next. In for a rude awakening when he is fired from his construction job, his landlord threatening literal bodily harm if he can’t make rent, Danny resolves to become a street performer. This start to Bear Necessity sounds like a veritable catastrophe in the making, though it becomes an unlikely boon when Will unk ...more
    May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: net-galley
    A year after the death of his wife, Danny and his son, Will are not coping with it well. Will hasn’t said a word since the accident, Danny lost his job and can't pay his rent. Danny then becomes a dancing panda in the park. Will doesn’t know it’s his dad he’s sharing all the secrets of his soul with while Danny is just happy his son is speaking. Delightful story! ...more
    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
    An extremely interesting book, not just because of the content itself, but because of the way it is told. James Gould-Bourn, in his descriptions, uses a great and unusual sense of humour, with a kind of sarcasm that makes the ordinary facts hold the reader's attention during the whole novel's development.

    I will definetly be reading any future novels by this author. Why? It was hilarious, sad and real. Many of the conversations that take place between the charatcers are funny and ridiculous, but
    Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: giveaways-arcs
    “Who taught you how to dance like that?”

    “A pole dancer called Krystal...” “…She taught me after I rescued her bathrobe that was stolen by a wizard who can set things on fire with his mind.”

    Wow. Just wow. I laughed, I cried, I cringed and I just sat in amazement as everything unfolded in crazy outlandish wonder. Danny lost his wife to an auto accident. He cares for his son Will who hasn’t spoken a word since that fateful day that he survived and his mom did not.

    Danny loses his job and is threat
    Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I started this book feeling like 3.5 stars but the more I got into the story the 4 stars started to appear, I had a hard time at the beginning of the story with all the chatting going in circles not getting anywhere but then as I understood where the story was heading, I felt like I was beginning to see the real true colors of Bear Necessity.

    Bear Necessity, a story of a man trying to reconnect with his son and save his family, after a very bad hard tragedy in his past that put a very big reef be
    Patricija - aparecium_libri
    I loved the fierce intensity of a father's love for his son. I think this novel explores important topics like loss, friendship, parenthood but also the struggles of a single parent and economic hardships. The writing style is fluent, easy to read, and not too descriptive.
    Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I'd like to thank NetGalley, author James Gould-Bourn, and Scribner for the advanced reader's copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

    This one was so much fun! It was also sad, heartwarming, hilarious, a little crazy, but in the end very satisfying. The author’s sense of humor comes through loud and clear throughout the whole book. I loved it!

    It is about Danny, whose wife died in a car accident one year ago, and about Will, Danny’s eleven-year-old son, who hasn’t spoken for one year, since his m
    Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Rounded from 4.25/5 stars - This book was so heartwarming!! I felt for both Danny and Will - I was sad and frustrated for them, they made me laugh and cry! The supporting roles of Ivan, Mo and Krystal were also great additions to their story. I don’t like giving anything away - all I can say is as soon as I finished it, I felt like I could read it all over again. Highly recommend!
    May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    For a debut novel, Keeping Mum is absolutely amazing. Such a truly wonderful story it had me hooked from the start.

    Danny Malooley is a character that you will instantly fall in love with. He's a hapless man, with his life practically falling around at his feet. Fourteen months ago the centre of his world died in a car crash. His wife Liz, his childhood sweetheart, the mother of his son. When Liz died a part of Will died that day too.

    At the centre of this story is a heartbreaking plotline. A ma
    Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: general-fiction
    This is going to be a favorite I can feel it.


    Original, creative, heartwarming, but not necessarily poignant, Bear Necessity encompasses a diverse and colorful cast of characters (Danny being the least interesting—seriously, though, his only two character traits are 'pathetic' and 'talentless'. I'm one to talk, though 👀.) This book promised humor and poignancy, and while the former promise was kept (think: literal laugh-out-loud moments on my part, a momentous feat for a book to accomplish—the
    Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I don't think that the opening paragraph of a synopsis was ever more apt than this one was.

    I don't use this word often (maybe never), but this was a heartwarming and charming novel, and I'm just sorry it took me so long to read the ARC is received. My apologies to both the publisher and author for that!

    This was also an entertaining novel and found me, at times, having some belly laughs over the predicaments that Danny got himself into. The cast of characters was marvelous> I couldn't find a bett
    Ramona Mead
    Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Two and a half stars. This novel has a Fredrik Backman vibe to it, though it's not as emotionally complex. Danny is single dad to 11-year-old Will, who hasn't spoken since he was in the car accident that killed her mother a year ago. Danny is down on his luck in every way possible, so he takes some drastic measures in an attempt to earn money to pay their back rent. I was drawn into the story right away, then by 40% was losing interest. The plot feels too far fetched and everything works out muc ...more
    Milana M (acouplereads)
    Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Picture that face you make when you see the cutest puppy 🥺 that was my face for the majority of this book! Bear Necessity was a heartfelt read that will stay with me for a long time. I’ll always remember how this book made me feel and it’s those books that last a lifetime.

    Bear Necessity delves into grief, father-son relationships, struggles of single parenthood, economic hardship and navigating those times when life kicks you and then drags you down deeper than you thought you could go.

    Danny los
    Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: shelf-awareness
    I could easily see this becoming a feel-good movie starring somebody lovably goofy like Ryan Reynolds.

    Danny continuously makes terrible decisions and eventually decides to be a dancing panda mascot. He then inadvertently gathers a lovely collection of friends—the sassy pole dancer, the street performer with a cat, and his Ukrainian (maybe gang-related) friend.

    It’s a sweet story. Danny’s attempts to bridge the gap with his silent son Will is endearing, and there’s enough comedy spaced throughout
    Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley, kindle
    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Bear Necessity.

    I was drawn to the sweet cover and the premise so I was excited when my request was approved.

    ** Minor spoilers ahead **

    Danny is a young widower struggling with the loss of his beloved wife in a car accident.

    His son, Will, had been in the car when his mother was killed and hasn't spoken since.

    After Danny is fired and his landlord threatens to harm his most precious body parts because he's late with the rent, he purchases a gross panda sui
    Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars
    A sweet story of a father & son dealing with their grief over the loss of their loved one (ie. Wife/mom) and learning to live again & become friends/a family.

    It moves slowly at first but stick with it as it becomes an endearing heart warming story as it develops and well worth finishing. It's also not as sad/melancholy as the tone early on implies.

    there is an HEA which leaves a smile on your face.

    A brilliant debut novel by the writer.
    Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I never thought a book about a father and son dealing with grief could be so charming, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny. Sometimes the Gould-Bourn’s characters teetered on the brink of being characters. But, somehow it only served to make them more real and love able. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a lighthearted and uplifting read.
    Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: audio-scribd
    Emotionally touching but also quite funny. Great audio production.
    Dayle (the literary llama)
    Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
    4.5 Stars. Hits you with all the feels but also delightfully quippy and funny. A heartwarming and fresh story with a wonderful cast of characters that are compulsively readable. Didn’t want to put it down.
    Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Did I just laughed reading this heart-breaking story? Yes!!!!!!! Did I have tears falling down my face while laughing? absolutely!!!!!

    the story is about Danny and his son Will. It’s been a year since the death of Dannys wife. the tragedy cause Will to stop talking since his mother’s death and it seems like everything has gone wrong since then. After being fired Danny dresses as panda and starts dancing in the street. But he doesn’t know how to do it, he is so close to give when suddenly his son
    Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This book definitely had it's heartbreaking & tough-to-read-about moments, & of course I cried more than once (honestly, I would have no matter what, all things considered...), but 'Bear Necessity' is at its heart uplifting & hopeful. The book deals with overcoming tragedy & grief in a unique way while a father does whatever he can to fix whats left of his family. Poignant, heartwarming, & utterly delightful, 'Bear Necessity' is truly a wonderful book! ...more
    Teresa | PluckyChicken
    Bear-ter late than never when it comes to a review right?

    Unfortunately, Bear Necessity fell short of my expectations. The book focused more on Danny as a dancing bear, and less on his relationship with his son. Everything wrapped up a little too conveniently for my taste. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had not been marketed as, “a funny and moving story of how a father and son overcome their grief in surprising ways.”⁣⁣⁣

    Luanne Ollivier
    Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Do you ever feel like it's just the right time to listen or read a feel good book? I like to regularly slot one into the mix, giving me a change from my regular murder and mayhem reads. James Gould-Bourn's debut novel, Bear Necessity, is one of those feel good books.

    Danny's wife died in a tragic auto accident a year ago. Their eleven year old son Will has not spoken a word since. They're both struggling with her loss. And adding to the mix, Danny has lost his job and he's desperately behind in h
    Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley
    At times funny, at times poignant, Bear Necessity is a heartwarming story about a father and son, Danny and Will, who have lost the most important person in their lives to a car accident - their wife and mother. This is a story of how their grief comes between them as each one grieves in his own way: Will stops speaking; Danny loses himself in his work.

    While this seems like it might be a depressing novel, it is actually quite uplifting and humorous to see how Danny chances upon a way to earn mon
    Meenakshi Sathish
    Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
    *Scribner Books provided me with an arc of this book*

    These past few months have lead me to become emotionally distraught (and I imagine I'm not alone). I wasn't doing all that great emotionally to begin with, but then the world decided to implode and people decided to show their true colors...fantastic.

    I was in dire need of something that would tend to my wounds.

    James Gould-Bourn's story is reminiscent of the beautiful 80's heartbreak era. You know, the wonderful era that released gems like St
    « previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
    • Amours solitaires (Amours solitaires, #1)
    • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    • Long Bright River
    • Blood of Elves (The Witcher, #1)
    • Know My Name
    • Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love
    • The Princess Bride
    • Beach Read
    • Inappropriate
    • Lie With Me
    • The Pilot's Wife
    • The Break
    • Everything, Everything
    • Försvunnen (Cold case, #1)
    • Writers & Lovers
    • The Girl in Red
    • The Horse Whisperer
    See similar books…
    See top shelves…
    James Gould-Bourn was born and raised in Manchester. He is an award-winning screenwriter and has previously worked for various landmine-clearance NGOs in Africa and the Middle East. Bear Necessity is his first novel.

    News & Interviews

    Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
    64 likes · 10 comments
    No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
    “You're probably wondering who I am and why I'm here. And, to be honest with you, I sometimes ask myself those same questions, as will each and every one one of you in this room one day when you realize that life is nothing but one long series of disappointments” 0 likes
    “Well, you know that feeling when you look around the classroom and everybody is listening to what you're saying and you can almost see them getting smarter, and you stand there and think to yourself: This is why I became a teacher. This is what it's all about” 0 likes
    More quotes…