Bear Season by Bernie Hafeli is a touching story about an 11 year old boy, Czeslaw or Chester, with Polish roots whose trying to learn to know his father through his Uncle’s stories of the past. The stories of his father, killed in World War II, include that of a rare relationship with a bear, Wojtek that he had purchased as a cub. The bear became one of the soldiers and his Uncle’s stories and drawings from that time intrigue Czeslaw so much that it seems he would do just about anything for a chance to meet the bear, to prove that the stories are real and feel closer to his father’s spirit.
The relationship between Czeslaw and his Uncle is a stressed one due to his Uncle’s alcoholism, but there is a genuine feeling of love between them which ends up taking them on a fantastic journey that neither had ever expected to come true. There is a great deal of conflict that Czeslaw must deal with, between both he and his Uncle as well as his relationship with his mother, but Wojtek takes center stage in this book as the reader follows Czeslaw along to find out if this remarkable bear actually exists or if his Uncle had been making it all up.
This story is something different, and in my opinion incredibly refreshing. The writing was seamless and flowed effortlessly. The characters were strong and immediately likeable, you empathize with them quickly and get drawn into their adventure. I felt the story ended too quickly, but upon reflection saw that it ended just where it needed to. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it was unique from many I’ve seen and I enjoyed it very much.
Available on Amazon.com
– Review by followbooks staff