Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Help! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen

And when Marv Pushkin, the book's main character (I feel like calling him the protagonist gives him too much credit) says a bear is eating him, he doesn't mean in a metaphorical or existential sense. He means a bear is actually eating his feet. Fortunately for us, though, he's hopped up on enough painkillers and stimulants that he can (most of the time) coherently narrate these events. The book is largely a stream of consciousness rant, which, while funny at times, shows us a lot more of Marv's character than probably even he realizes or is aware of.

Marv is basically the worst. He's insecure, egotistical, selfish, mean, abusive, etc. He cheats on his wife, who he tries to douse with bear bait, demeans his employees, and is grossly arrogant. So when he tells us about how a bear surprised him when he stopped to change a flat tire in the Alaskan wilderness and how he climbed underneath his Range Rover (which he makes sure to impress upon us how expensive and awesome it is) to escape, we're not that moved when the jack slips out and the SUV falls on him, trapping him under the chassis. It's even hard to feel sorry for him when the bear starts to eat his feet. But along the way, he lets slip moments from his past that, while probably not excusing his terribleness, at least explain it a little bit. And when his coworker and his wife, who are probably also having an affair, find him and then leave him for another night, we feel genuinely bad for him.

Would I recommend it? Eh, it was kinda short and not as funny as I had hoped, but it was all right. I give it a 5.5/10


Brent Waggoner said...

You have the most books about bears.

Christopher said...

Billy, rank your top ten bear books.