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Wild Heart: The Story of Joy Adamson, Author of Born Free Hardcover – March 15, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Born Free will likely be disappointed with this cursory view of ethologist Joy Adamson's life and work. The early chapters in this profile of one of the world's most visionary conservationists and animal rights activists gets bogged down in glancing references to her three marriages, extramarital affairs and an abortion. Consequently, Adamson often comes off as a capricious schoolgirl (e.g., after George Adamson, who would become her third husband, tells her he's in love with her, she "could hardly concentrate on the smallest task"). Neimark (Myth Maker: J.R.R. Tolkien) touches on some interesting factsAAdamson's refusal to visit her anti-Semitic stepfather in her native Austria at the dawn of Nazism; her early renown as a botanical artist and her later mistreatment by the Nairobi government, which cheated her of the proceeds from the duplication and sales of her original drawings. But Elsa, the lioness that changed the course of Adamson's career, doesn't enter until over halfway through the volume and merits just three chapters; readers get a fleeting look at the relationship that would spawn several books, a landmark film and Adamson's lifelong commitment to conserving territory for African wildlife. A bibliography reveals that the bulk of the author's resources are Adamson's own writings, but little light is shed here on this extraordinary woman. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-9An insightful look at one of the worlds pioneers in wildlife conservation. After a privileged childhood in Austria, a disastrous love affair, and two unsuccessful marriages, Friederike (later called Joy) Gessner found her calling in a rugged, adventurous life in Africa. With her third husband George Adamson, she shared a love of animals and a safari lifestyle. When he brought her three orphaned lion cubs, one the famous Elsa, Adamsons fascination with big cats became the focus of her life. Income from her books and lectures, plus fund-raising, was used to establish national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation organizations worldwide. Through objective writing, Neimark reveals Adamson as a woman more comfortable with animals than humans, passionate and mercurial by nature, and beloved by many. There is some fictionalized dialogue. A few of Adamsons paintings are included; although they are reproduced in black and white, they clearly indicate her talent as an artist.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I thought Wild Heart was a mediocre book. In the beginning, the book told the story of a person named Friederike. Little did I know this was Joy Adamson's real name. It confused me because it didn't explain this until late in the book. The beginning talked mostly of her life as a child which I found very boring and unclear. In the middle, the author talks about Joy's several marriages. It also talks about her painting plants a lot, but it goes into way too much detail. " She painted the blue-green delphinium, the ruby red everlasting, the scarlet gladiolus, and the giant, tree-sized groundsel with its golden flowers poised like praying hands."
The end of the book was a lot more interesting to me because it is about the adoption of Elsa and the other cubs, and about all the other animals she adopted. The book reaches its climax during this part especially when she first adopts the cubs because it was a life changing decision. The book also told how she made such a big difference for animals by establishing many wildlife preserves, and raising interest and awareness about orphaned animals, suggesting ways we can help. "...she launched Elsa Wild Animal Appeal in Africa, a charity to help animals living where they were unwanted by human beings; she also set up the Nature Conservancy Committee to issue grants from her royalties. She hired an animal rescue team and bought them a truck..." Her books led to many donations and other good things for the animals.
Overall, the book was not the best. I would recommend finding out a little bit about Joy Adamson before reading this book. It would have been helpful to know a general description of her life because then the unclear parts would make more sense. Also, if animals and plants do not interest you, do not read this book. The story of Joy Adamson was very interesting, but I found this book to be boring and unclear.