Saturday, August 15, 2015

Elephant Awareness Month | Book Review - Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

I bought this book in late February to take along for my family vacation, but I never got around to reading it until this summer. It just so happens that I finished up reading this book smack dab in the middle of Elephant Awareness Month, which made reading this memoir all the more special. I learned about this memoir at the same time I first learned about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and I knew I had to read it. I was definitely not disappointed. This story chronicles the life of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the founder of the DSWT, from her childhood growing up in Kenya, to her marriages and children, and - most importantly - her many relationships she developed with orphaned animals while rehabilitating them and reintegrating them back into the wild. This is a story of great love and (sadly) many great losses in her life. 

While there are many funny anecdotes about the animals she and the Trust reared, it is not without deeply disturbing stories of poachers and violence against wild animals and the mistreatment of those held in captivity. Being a lover of animals, especially elephants, there were definitely parts of this book that were very hard for me to read. Unfortunately, the sad stuff is the reality of the situation for wild animals in many countries and it has been for years. As hard as those stories are to read, it does have the ability to spark your inner activist and make you want to do all you can to protect the gentle and empathetic animals that this memoir focuses in on.

If you're an animal lover like me, especially if you're a big fan of elephants, I would highly recommend this book. Learning about Dame Daphne Sheldrick, an outstanding conservationist who has quite literally given her life to helping animals, has been one of my favorite things I've done this summer. She has lead an extraordinary life that is nothing short of inspiring.

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