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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 28 November 2021

Barack Obama’s sweet rise to power explored in new book

A new book explores the rise of President Obama – but through the allegorical tale of a bear and his love for honey.

Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP/Press Association Images via PA Images

YOU’VE HEARD OF the cat that got the cream – now meet the bear who got the honey…and he ‘bears’ some similarities to a certain US President.

UK author JoJo Gould was so inspired by US President Barack Obama that he used his life as inspiration for his new book, The Bear in a Safari Hat.

The story is set in Dublin and County Mayo and contains a series of allegories about the rise of Barack Obama to the most powerful job in the world.

Like Obama, the protagonist, Brosnan, has Irish roots and travels back there to visit his uncle, Furry O’Mara, who is a honey farmer.

What follows is a story that “outlines the rise of a young bear with a message of hope”, as Brosnan makes his way to becoming president of the world’s honey supply.

In real life, President Obama will visit Ireland next month.

He hasn’t made any comment on the book yet, but no doubt he would find it a sweet read indeed.

Here is an excerpt from the book, which is aimed at young teens:

With his thick, lime, crew-necked sweater it was difficult to miss Furry O’Mara when he was out and about. Even in the centre of Dublin, school cubs would shout and greet them as they made their way from Parnell Square, down O’Connell Street, over the bridge at the Liffey, up Grafton Street, and onwards toward St. Stephen’s Green.
Furry, despite a number of offers, had never married. ‘My bees are my children, and my honey is my gift of love to the world,’ the old bear would say rather sentimentally, especially after a few meads on the occasional Saturday evening. Surrounded by lush green fields and situated at the bottom of a long, winding, peaceful, country lane, the honey farm included a store – a single-storey wooden building located on the tree-lined pathway leading to the main gates. There, visitors could purchase Furry’s jars at trade price. Not being a bear to miss a business opportunity, the outlet sold a variety of additional honey products and beeswax gifts such as wood finisher, polish, paw-made ornaments and candles in delightful animal shapes.
As the honey farm regularly attracted tourists from around the world, it also stocked a range of Irish novelty goods and souvenir items, particularly in the summertime. Besides the honey farm, Furry O’Mara had a number of other business interests and shares in a range of going concerns – a tavern in Limerick, for example, used up some of his time.
The old brown bear was getting a tad cantankerous with his advancing years, but he remained in full control of his faculties. He also liked to rant to anyone who would listen as he made his way around the factory. In his prime, Furry was once a bear-hug champion. To this day, he remained exceptionally strong and was reputed to have the strength of four bears. This had never been scientifically proven, but after a couple of meads in his local tavern, The Iron Paw, he was known to sometimes challenge other bears to an impromptu paw-wrestle for fun, and, to date, he had never lost.

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