On her forty-seventh birthday, Sydney Smith stands on a rooftop and prepares to jump . . . 

Sydney is a cartoonist and freerunner. Feet constantly twitching, always teetering on the edge of life, she’s never come to terms with the event that ripped her family apart when she was ten years old. And so, on a birthday that she doesn’t want to celebrate, she returns alone to St Ives to face up to her guilt and grief. It’s a trip that turns out to be life-changing – and not only for herself. 

Do Not Feed the Bear is a book about lives not yet lived, about the kindness of others and about how, when our worlds stop, we find a way to keep on moving. 



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Do Not Feed the Bear is published by Alba Editorial in Spain.
It will be published in Germany in 2020 by Mare Verlag.




‘I was delighted and surprised by this textured, fascinating and most moving book’
– Chris Ware

‘Rachel Elliott is such a beguiling and astute storyteller’
– Sarah Winman

‘An astonishingly good novel about grief and its shadowy partner, guilt. Mysterious, uplifting, and often very funny, it had me totally gripped from start to finish’
– Deborah Moggach

‘It’s utterly uplifting and a warm reminder that people are here to help’
– Jameela Jamil (Stylist magazine)

 ‘Do Not Feed the Bear is a moving and gently humorous portrait of loss, grief and finding a way through. Rachel Elliott uses a chorus of voices – some from the most unexpected of mouths – to create a vivid world of interconnected lives. It's a wonderfully redemptive story showing how, by taking a leap of faith into the unknown, we might find exactly what we need’
– Sarah Haywood

 ‘A slow-burn, quirky, rewarding story about a group of bereft people (and dogs) who find each other in unexpected ways’
– Julie Cohen

 ‘Beautifully written, Elliott's unique, mesmerising voice effortlessly draws you in’
– Woman & Home (Book of the Month)

 ‘An uplifting and heart-warming tale about love, loss and moving on, and the importance of being kind to each other – and ourselves’
– Heat (Hottest Reads)

 ‘Told from various perspectives, this is a beautifully poignant tale about loss, love, compassion, and being kind to people whose stories and struggles – in the past and present – are overlooked’
– Culturefly (8 of the best books to read this August)

 ‘There is love and pain and such humour. The author is a psychotherapist with the key to the human heart’
– Saga

‘It’s thought-provoking, filled with characters that you care about and unexpectedly touching in its treatment of loss and letting things go. Treat yourself to a copy!’
– 17 Degrees Magazine

‘There is a quirky otherness to the stories told within the book that shed a light on quiet figures with bold journeys to take'
– Magic Radio Book Club