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In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous zebra; and the majestic elephant Eleanor, with whom Daphne has shared more than forty years of great friendship.
But this is also a magical and heartbreaking human love story between Daphne and David Sheldrick, the famous Tsavo Park warden. It was their deep and passionate love, David’s extraordinary insight into all aspects of nature, and the tragedy of his early death that inspired Daphne’s vast array of achievements, most notably the founding of the world-renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Orphans’ Nursery in Nairobi National Park, where Daphne continues to live and work to this day.
Encompassing not only David and Daphne’s tireless campaign for an end to poaching and for conserving Kenya’s wildlife, but also their ability to engage with the human side of animals and their rearing of the orphans expressly so they can return to the wild, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing a rare insight into the life of one of the world’s most remarkable women.
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By Mimi Routh on 08-26-12
A LOVE STORY IN EVERY SENSE
[THE PRINT AND KINDLE VERSIONS OF THIS BOOK HAVE MANY PAGES OF MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS. THE AUDIO VERSION DESERVES A PDF FILE OF THE SAME!]
This is the people and animal book I was looking for when I gave a disappointed review to Love at First Bark. This book is first a love story about the life of a very loving woman, two husbands -- both great loves, a daughter from each, and years of fascinating work with animals in Kenya. Daphne Sheldrick tells her own life story, weaving family events with animal friends, scientific discoveries, and world and Kenyan politics. She waxes quite poetic in spots, describing the romance and beauty of the scenery, the scent of ylang-ylang and animal sounds in the night. The story is balanced and consistent, although one chapter may be about high-level politics and the next may focus on an orphaned rhino or elephant they are raising. I found the joyful descriptions of the garden and the small creatures living nearby helps to compensate for the heart-breaking saga of poaching and general corruption.
Virginia McKenna, the narrator, is outstanding. She is a great actress, turning the words into a musical composition expressing fun, excitement and joy, slowing to a whisper for serious parts. She sounds like an old English lady wearing a ruffly blouse, face powder and a flowery scent, which may be just how the author herself would sound. Mrs. Sheldrick is only 78 now, living and working near Nairobi.
Predictably some people will be "turned off" by mention of culling and poaching -- all the wildlife systematically killed through greed, ignorance and bad politics. Well, folks, welcome to the real world! After all, what happened to our own buffalo! I do my own bit in wildlife rehabilitation in California. I cry hot tears when even one bear is disposed of unnecessarily. Too many people around the world still think animals don't matter, can't feel, etc. This is a valid part of "respect life," as a bear cub, eagle or river otter has a tremendous potential for life and joy. So I was actually helped, even comforted, by the way Mrs. Sheldrick handles these painful events in her own story.
As to animal communication, the author believes elephants communicate over wide areas by telepathy. She is not an animal psychic. However, David, her second husband, was an expert at reading the body language of the animals, and in that way they could discern feelings. She and David are not afraid to attribute human emotions to the animals they love. Indeed, elephants are more loving and caring to their family members than most people these days!
This is a totally lovely book! The sad and violent parts are not gratuitous; they have to be told. I love you, Daphne!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Cynthia on 06-04-12
It's all about the Elephants and the other orphans
What made the experience of listening to Love, Life, and Elephants the most enjoyable?
This is a deeply moving story of life and death of humans and animals. If you have any affinity for Africa and its wildlife, this is an absolute must read. Ms. McKenna, the narrator, was exquisite.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Daphne and David. Plus the whole menagerie of orphaned little ones.
Which scene was your favorite?
The entire book!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, too bad one needs to sleep sometimes.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful