West with Giraffes

West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge was another crowdsourced title. I enjoyed aspects of it, but I didn’t love it overall. Reminiscent of Water for Elephants, it was a creative and interesting book. “Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave. It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes. Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.” (Amazon) My issue was it was too long and just incident after incident (which you would have expected) to get to the end of the journey. About halfway through, I almost gave up and did skim to get to the resolution. I think maybe if I hadn’t had such a long pile of books to read right now, I might have enjoyed it more (less pressure), but as it was, it didn’t need to be as long to be enjoyable.

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