Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!

Before I begin, I have a brief note from my inner pedant, to the editor of this book: Spell check is your friend. I am not terribly picky about typos in instant messages, emails, tweets, Facebook status updates, or blogs (including my own), but seriously, if you’re going to charge me $10.95 for a book, before taking my money, could you spend 45 seconds letting your PC find and remove the glaring typos?

Book number 13 is Help! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen, and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll start with the cover. One of the reviews on the back cover says, “this is the gayest shit I’ve ever seen,” a statement that is attributed to a “noted Internet culture critic.”

Okay, that’s not exactly how I’d put it, but I can see where the noted, yet anonymous, culture critic is coming from. Two words leap to my own mind: surreal and profane. Actually, this may well be the most profane book I’ve ever read, even including the porn book I found in my cousin’s car and read when I was ten.

The narrator is a guy called Marv Pushkin, who has something to offend everyone. The book is a long interior monologue by Marv, who is trapped under an SUV and, well, being eaten by a bear. I quickly found myself rooting for the bear, although in the interest of full disclosure, I must add that I also rooted for Voldemort during the last Harry Potter movie, much to the dismay of the two teenage girls sitting behind me. That said, the fact that the narrator is referred to as an asshole on the book’s back cover may be a sign that my reaction to him was not unique.

Marv and I have a lot in common, which I should probably find alarming, but don’t. For example, Marv is confused by people’s insistence that the outdoors is so great. “Certain people – hippies, I guess you’d call them – insist to me that human beings need nature, for some reason.” I, too, frequently find myself baffled when confronted with such assertions. Speak for yourself! If you need nature, it’s all yours - enjoy.

Marv is not a team player, and neither am I. “A team is a group of people who do what I tell them to, or I fire them.” Or in my case, do what I tell them to or I issue time outs, withhold allowances, and restrict television privileges.

Marv “wouldn’t be obsessed with money if there wasn’t so much great stuff for sale.” I know just how he feels. Many is the time (okay, once or twice) I have gone hiking with my husband and observed that it would be so much more motivational if someone would build a mall at the end of the trail. Then, obviously, I would understand what the pockets on cargo pants are for: my credit cards. And I wouldn’t have to carry all that heavy water and food because I could just buy it at the food court.

Where I draw the line with Marv, though, is where he observes that he and the bear are not so different: “We both have excellent taste. You are eating me, for instance, and I would eat you, too.” Sorry, no. I am not hairy, I do not stink, and I’m almost a vegetarian.

I’m not sure if I’m a better person for having read this book, but now that I’ve spent some quality time with Marv Pushkin, I know I’m a better person than at least one fictitious character, if only because I’m not fool enough to find myself in a situation where being eaten by a bear is even a remote possibility.

13 books down, 37 more to go.


  1. Um...I kind of want to read this, lol!

    Your review made me snort, a lot. And now I'm seriously contemplating adding this to my list. Mostly because of your review, partly because who thinks of such a plot? Man stuck under SUV and being eaten by a bear? What?


    PS: Don't let Jane Eyre scare you off; it really is easier than some of the other stuff I've read. If you can find someplace quiet to read, you can probably get through it. Though, that may be difficult with kids. ;) So, be prepared to be reading it for a year!

  2. Silly man - everyone knows there's nothing better to attract a bear than an SUV. In some parts of the countryside it's illegal to leave out SUVs. That's why it's best that they all stay in the city.

  3. Sorry about the Jane Eyre comment. Another reader with your name commenting me saying she had no desire to read Jane Eyre. When I finally got around to commenting in return, I assunmed it had been you. Oops!

    Glad you loved Jane Eyre. I was going to look for the movie version after I finished; there really isn't one worth it? And I love the audio version, especially coupled with the book. (:

  4. Jessica,

    Today's economy being what it is, one goes to press with the proofreaders one has, not the proofreaders one wants. Nevertheless, I would be very pleased to discipline any typos that may have glared at you. Send page & line numbers to mykle-typos@helpabeariseatingme.com if you feel the urge.

    Much obliged,



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