I FOUND IT.
I thought this book was some kind of weird Canadian urban legend, but last Friday there it was, a dusty paperback sitting innocuously in a stack of equally dusty paperbacks.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present:
The 1976 classic Canadian novel of a woman who develops sexual feelings for a wild grizzly.
Okay, now I don’t normally get this excited when I find random erotic novels in thrift shops. If that were the case I’d be in a constant state of over-stimulation.
Bear is special.
I first heard about Bear many years ago on a blog called 11points, which sadly is no longer active so I can’t find the original link. The article was entitled “Eleven of the Weirdest Romantic Novel Sub-Genres” or something like that; and nestled somewhere in between werewolf romances and Abe Lincoln erotica was a little novel called Bear.
Fast forward to 2016; I was scrolling the Overdrive website for the Toronto Public Library and there it was again.
Listed under “Proud to be Canadian”
It even has a wait list!
Allow me if you will to give you a brief excerpt from this great novel. Warning: NSFW
“She cradled his big, furry, asymmetrical balls in her hands, she played with them, slipping them gently inside their cases as he licked. His prick did not come out of its long cartilaginous sheath. Never mind, she thought, I’m not asking for anything. I’m not obliged to anybody. I don’t care if I can’t turn you on, I just love you.” (Engel, 130)
Pardon me for a moment, I’m going to go scrub my hands for typing that.
As undeniably weird and wrong as it is, only in Canada would you see something like this on a list of public library recommendations. Because instead of responding to things like Bear with righteous fury or moral indignation, Canada leans into its weirdness.
It embraces books like Bear and announces to the world, “Yup, we’re the country with that grizzly-fucker novel. What about it?” Canada accepts its own wackiness, and that’s one of the things I love about living here.
So here’s to you Bear. Let your freak flag fly.
Happy reading everyone!