Most helpful positive review
103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
a true love story---fascinating, endearing, surprising, wonderful...
on November 27, 2008
When I picked up this book I expected an interesting animal story, and instead found an absolutely engaging page-turner about a wonderful young woman's search for herself in Wyoming. I read it cover to cover in a day-- this is one of the best books I have read in years.
The story of the author's unexpected fork in the road-- the choice to allow a tiny baby coyote to be drowned or to take on its care for life-- and the path she took illuminates so many things about her, and about all of us as human beings. This is a remarkably well-written memoir about a fascinating person and her fascinating animal family. It is a story of about love, both between humans and animals and between a man and a woman-- both stories about figuring out how to be an individual, how to trust, how to overcome fear, and how to accept that we can't always be in control in life. It is also illustrated by some of the most beautiful and compelling wildlife photography I have ever seen. Shreve Stockon is a great photographer.
The characters of her book are all complex and skillfully portrayed. Shreve herself is my new heroine-- a free spirit determined to believe in life and love, despite the knocks and pain she experienced along the way. She is brave, even when terrified. She is wise, even when she is naive or foolish. She takes chances few people would risk, and in the process redefines the boundaries of her own life. It's not at all surprising that a spirit like hers is moving towards a happy ending at the close of the book.
Mike, Shreve's friend and boyfriend, is also a very complex person. Kind, solid, brave, genuine, and also willing to take a chance after enduring a great deal of heartache, he is another person we feel privileged to come to know through this book. I was rooting for Mike throughout the book, just as Shreve seems to be.
Charlie, the coyote Shreve and Mike share their lives with, will be absolutely fascinating to anyone who has ever raised a puppy through adolescence and the accompanying rough patches, as well as anyone who is interested in the unique character of coyotes and wolves. This is both the story of a unique and accidental family and an intriguing account of coyote behavior.
As a person who cares deeply about wildlife, and someone who worked in conservation education for many years, I understand that there are people who will not approve of the choice made by Shreve. I was afraid for her and for Charlie as I read this book, knowing that their fate rested on the edge of a knife, with disaster and heartbreak always looming as very real possibilities. But in the end I believe that Shreve's choice was the right one for her, and I have tremendous respect for her huge heart, toughness, independence, and willingness to take a chance on love. Her willingness to trust in the goodness of strangers has brought a great deal of joy into her life. I sincerely hope that they will be able to continue to find happiness together.
Finally, since I think the author may read our reviews, I just wanted to add a note for her. I feel sure there will be film offers made for this story. If so, don't take the first offer, :), and keep some rights of approval over the script-- don't let them change what is true about Charlie, what is amazing about you, and what is complicated and good about Mike. You really have inspired me to think about what makes a good life. I'll be thinking about your book for a long time, and hope a sequel will follow.