Saturday, May 10, 2014

Love, Life and Elephants

Book: Love, Life and Elephants
Author: Daphne Sheldrick
Edition: eBook from library
Read:  May, 10, 2014 - unfinished
629 pages
Rated: 2 out of 5

Autobiographical on Daphne Sheldrick's life in Keneya. Her husband was the head of the Tsavo National Park.The book tells of her upbringing in Africa and then her subsequent marriage to a game warden in Kenya. There she meets her future husband, David Sheldrick. The story continues on with how she started raising elephants, rhinos and other assorted orphaned animals in the park.

 How do you look at a book where the content should be compelling, but the writing is not? That is the problem with I had with this book. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get into this book, consequently I did not finish it.

I think she could have done better by either having a professional writer write the book or hiring a ghost writer. Her telling of her childhood was to establish the basis for her life-long love of animals. But what I read started out as interesting, but rough, and then degenerated into the minutia of a childhood. This type of writing continues on throughout the book. It seems like whatever orphaned animal crosses her path, she becomes inseparably attached to. She probably was, but after reading how she was specially attached to a number of animals, one gets the feeling that there was no special relationships because they were all special. I suspect this is the fault of the writing, not what she was trying to describe.

One criteria which I have for looking at a book or any other piece of writing is could I have written this book? If so, the writing is not very good, consequentially the storyline behind it needs to be extremely compelling. I think the story could have been, but after a month of trying, I could not get more than halfway through it. I think that to someone with a strong interest in animals, particularly Africa, this would have been a good book to read.

(I should note that my book group enjoyed this book. Guess that makes me the old crumudgeon.)

Notes from my book group:

May have been a Smithsonian pick.
Reliving the period of the Mau Mau uprising.


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