Review of The Book I Almost Didn’t Read

The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. I

Hope in Paris

By Donnalyn Vojta

Formerly subtitled, Saved in Paris! NOTE: This is NOT a children’s                    book.
In this first volume of the extraordinarily unique suspense series                        (for ages 16+), unexpected, sweet narrators tell how a young                        educated Chicago woman, Kelly Donovan, must escape from her                  luxurious home to get away from her sociopath boyfriend, Mark                  Flannery, before he takes her to a woodsy cabin for a little                      “anniversary get-way.” She must plot, lie, and pretend to be happy                  before she can flee her relationship and her own home, alive.                  Unforeseen obstacles frustrate Kelly’s efforts to escape, and her                      family and friends, strangers to one other, must perfectly work                    together to help her live a life free from threat. The diverse group              includes an insecure drama teacher, a brilliant pharmaceutical                  engineer, and an international businesswoman with a secret that                    comes in very handy at one critical point.

This story is uniquely narrated by inanimate household teddy                          bears, which, notwithstanding their immobility, have interesting                    thoughts and perspectives on the shocking events and intriguing            relationships which form before their plastic eyes. These plush                        bears also get a healthy dose of an entertaining blooming romance                  when Kelly’s plight takes everyone overseas to Paris. While in                        France, more scheming, racing to stay steps ahead of Mark, and                          even physical violence ensue – violence which does not always                          involve a damsel in distress. To complicate matters further, some of                        the characters are not necessarily what, or who, they seem. Once the                plot’s feverish pace decelerates, the group starts to feel some hope,                        but is the race really over? The genre-mixing mind-bending                        narration style makes this novel a sensational ride. Enjoy

I kept seeing this book pop up on my Instagram feed and kept ignoring it. I am not generally a murder mystery type person, but I was intrigued that this was written from the view-point of teddy bears so I decided to give it a try. I’m very glad I did.

The book starts off a bit simple.  Teddy Bears narrate the story so that was to be expected, but I wasn’t sure at first if I could handle it.  The first bear, Fair Bear, was telling his point of view of a relationship with an abusive and controlling male and it was hard to read his innocent point of view when he questioned why the main character, Kelly, did things to make Mark upset and hurt her. I wasn’t sure I could keep reading it when I came across these sections, but as time passed the bear matured and his understanding of the situation grew. I really enjoyed watching him grow in understanding and realize that this Mark guy was a terrible person.

The book switches points of view between 3 bears. I’m not usually a fan of changing perspectives, but I didn’t mind it in this one.  Donnalyn Vojta did a great job of showcasing three separate stories and then weaving them together to create an amazingly complex tapestry showcasing women who were strong, courageous, intelligent, and able to conquer the world.

I would recommend this read for sure even if it is not your normal genre. Everybody needs to experience a story told through the eyes of some very sweet and cute teddy bears.