Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ursus Americanus

The Bear Went Over the Mountain was a cute, easy read. (It was on last summer's suggested reading list from the library, but I never got around to cracking it open.) The idea: a bear in Maine steals an English professor's manuscript for a novel, gets it published as his, and becomes a bestselling author. The bear just wants to be seen as human, but is paranoid that everyone will see through him. (Plus he can't quite shed his animal instincts.) As he navigates the publishing world in NYC and goes on his book tour, he encounters different types of humans, each of which is a hilarious caricature (the corporate lawyer, the Hollywood agent, the radio talk-show host, the TV evangelist).

I think it's meant to be a humorous indictment of human interactions: with no exceptions, all the humans project their own opinions and thoughts onto the bear's very simple (often one-word!) statements and ignore what he is actually trying to communicate.

The chapters alternate between the bear's journey through various chaotic human cities, and the wronged professor's gradual decline into paranoia back in Maine.

Decent, light reading while sweltering in the summer heat!

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