But in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, the budding of the relationship between Bear (Derrick) and Otter (Oliver) was there well before, when Bear was only 17 years old and Otter 9 years older; that is one of the reason why Otter feels as if he is influencing Bear, like an imprinting he “imposed” to the boy since he was a kid, and the guiltiness pushed him away. Plus here Bear is the only caregiver of the Kid (Ty), there is no mother or father, or any other relatives (while instead if I remember well in Shelter there was a family, dysfunctional as you want, but still there). In Shelter, the main character is a wannabe artist, here Bear has no artistic skills.
I think to remember the author said he took inspiration from his own experience taking care for a younger brother for this novel, and I don’t exclude he felt near to the movie, like when you see/read something that call to you inner cords, that speaks true to your heart. Maybe he put something of that feeling in the novel, but something that is completely original of this novel is the character of the Kid. The kid in the movie was nothing compared to this one, and I don’t think this Kid can be “accused” of being a replica of someone else, it felt to good and true to be fake or copy. Sure, this Kid is not normal, he is probably a little genius, someone that, if raised in a different environment, or in a family with money, would have been one of those little adult who became multimillionaire at 14 years old, or some musical genius, or something else exceptional. Here instead, he is the perfect counsellor to his brother, the friends of his brother, and everyone he has the chance to touch with his aura.
The relationship between Bear and Otter is sweet, almost to the level of being innocent; it’s not that they are not having sexual intercourses, it’s that the sex is done “behind closed doors”, and sometime, like with me, you realize they had sex since one of them said it, not since you read about it. In a way, even if this is not a Young Adult novel, this could be a novel the upper age of teenagers could “use” as first attempt to gay novel literature.
Amazon: Bear, Otter, and the Kid
Amazon Kindle: Bear, Otter, and the Kid
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 12, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
Cover Art by Paul Richmond