Book Review: The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff

25118244Title: The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave

Author: J.H. Moncrieff

Genre: Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes evil looks like a fuzzy teddy bear.Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant toaccept a well-worn stuffed teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy…and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things begin to happen.Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ effortsrebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth—Edgar will always get even.

The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave brings a pretty basic and familiar plot – a young boy gets a teddy bear and it turns out to be a demonic creature from hell that wants to hurt him – and turns it into an even more twisted version than the original. Familiar, yet with some imaginative new twists, this is a nostalgic horror novel that fans of the genre will definitely enjoy.

Josh Leary is barely ten years old when his life turns upside down. His father passed away, and now he has to deal with his new stepfather. But Michael, his stepfather, is a wicked, cruel man, and Josh’s mother seems blind to the truth. When his stepdad gives him a fuzzy, menacing-looking teddy bear, Josh knows he’s not doing it to be nice. The bear is wicked. At first, Josh suspects his stepdad is behind it when the bear moves on it own, escaping the closet he threw it in, but when more and more strange things start happening, he realizes the bear may have some terrible powers of his own. Meanwhile, Josh’s life spirals out of control as his stepfather grows more dominating and subjects him to harsh punishments, and his relationship with his mother deteriorates. Can he save his family?

While the story of the demonic teddy bear is certainly entertaining, it was the underlying story that really grasped my interest. Josh and his mom have a great relationship at first, but Josh is immediately wary of his stepdad, and time and time again, his mom dismisses his pleas and chooses his stepfather over him, while all along, Josh was right. When Edgar the teddy bear starts destroying things around the house, Michael blames Josh, and although she doesn’t want to, Josh’s mom believes him. Then the punishments starts, and God, sometimes it’s awful to read. That’s the true horror – not the demonic bear, but what Josh’s mom lets this man, this stranger, do to her son. That’s what chilled me to the core.

Josh is an easy character to connect to. For a kid, he’s really mature, and he has the same fears all of us do. Michael is a cruel man, and he’s easy to hate, which was probably the author’s intention too. Josh’s mom is timid and fragile, but at times she shows some bravery. Other times, you just want to shake her and yell at her to choose for her child, to protect little Josh. She was a frustrating character, but again, I believe it was done intentional, and it was done well.

The writing is great, and the plot is entertaining. Only the ending felt a little rushed. A solid read for horror fans.

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