Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bear v. Shark, Chris Bachelder

Bear v. Shark
Chris Bachelder

I have no idea now where the recommendation for this book came from, but I am afraid I am going to disappoint someone.

I had the same reaction to this that I have to some modern art, like a canvas painted all one color. I thought "I could write this. I could write a lot better than this guy did."

Nearly the entire book consists of very short (1-2 page) chapters describing the story of the Norman family as they travel to watch the second bear/shark battle. This is a parody of America, though, so while most of what we see is familiar, it's all deliberately exaggerated to the point of silliness.

In an attempt to heighten the effect, most dialog isn't quoted, characters talk past each other, and all kinds of events aren't really explained. Then end result is a ball of semi-related things that sort of make up a story, but a story without any reasonable ending. In fact, it's rather like the author couldn't come up with one, so he decided to leave it open and let the reader imagine his own.

In any case, I didn't find it funny, though others apparently do. It does contain a lot of social commentary, but only of the most blunt kind.

This is the author's first novel. I have no desire to read anything else by him, and I can't imagine why a publisher would spend money on this book. Not recommended.