An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick


Title: An African Love Story
Author: Daphne Sheldrick
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: BiographiesConservation, Non-fiction, True stories
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Water, more precious than gold, had to be rationed, every drop carted from base.
Challenge: 2017 Bookworm Bitches Catch-Up Challenge

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There are not enough words in the English language to describe how inspiring and touching this story was. At least to someone who is animal obsessed as I am… Daphne’s life was filled with tragedies and triumphs, mirroring the lives of some of her orphaned charges, and the reflective and honest way in which she looks back at these moments in her life is sweet and endearing, yet eye-opening to the plight of elephants.

Admittedly, I am a large fan of books around conservation efforts, but, where many of them focus on the sometimes incredibly negative impacts of the difficulty in this, the entirety of An African Love Story was positive. Even when talking about the immense slaughters that were carried out in Tsavo National Park, Sheldrick managed to still promote the love she felt for both her family and the land around her. It helped to beautifully offset such a tragic point in the Parks’ history, a horrifying act that is still being carried out today. Introducing us to her orphaned elephants, the many successes and even failures that passed through her hands helped to give a face to such a potent issue in the conservation world. The pictures throughout her story helped to further the emotional connection that all but those of the hardest heart will melt for.

That’s not to say that the only orphans featured in this story are the victims of the ivory trade – buffaloes, mongooses, antelope and warthogs all make their own special appearances on the page and in Sheldrick’s heart. Each of these short tales of mischievous and mayhem help to instil a love for Kenya and it’s animals that left a yearning in my heart to travel to this astonishing countryside.

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Image source: Penguin

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