Cultural · fiction · History · Small Book

West with Giraffes

“Life is life no matter who or what is living it, boy—a thing to respect,” he said. “You don’t get that, then you’re just a waste of skin.””

― Lynda Rutledge

Why I’m Reading this Book?

If you follow my blog, you must have got by now that I read a lot of books recommended by my brother Piyush Sharma . This book was also highly praised by him. I couldn’t find it in library, so I bought it’s kindle edition.


A lonely old man, possibly suffering from Alzheimer, wants to tell his story before he loses it in the fog that his memories have become. He has lived a very long life, but this story in his young days has shaped him as a person and had a long lasting impact and thus very important to him. And may be that’s why he still remembers it very clearly…

My Review…

Story starts with a death in the hospital and when a nurse comes to wrap last earthly items of a 105 years old deceased, she finds a manuscript in his possession and starts reading. Along with her, we also read.

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, during the era of great depression and world war, is a paltry orphan who is living on the scraps.He finds himself in a more chaotic situation after a hurricane hits home and during his frantic search for food or shelter, he sees two Giraffe first time in his life. Although living a brutal life himself, he finds himself drawn towards them. One of the Giraffe, a female, is injured during her shipping through ocean and getting stuck in hurricane.

Soon Woody starts chasing the truck carrying Giraffe, thinking they will get him to California, where the rich people live and he can be one too, but more primal desire which even he was unaware of was to be with Giraffes. Their keeper, John Riley, often referred to as Old man, is a gruff person who has an entirely different personality with animals. He would choose animals over human any day as is shown in book several times.

Anyways, Old man and Woody path’s crosses and with some stroke of luck, Woody finds himself driving the truck and heading towards West where California is. They are not the only one though. There is a red haired girl, who is also as smitten by Giraffe as anyone can be, and abandoning everyone and everything, she is chasing the truck to see the Giraffes, to photograph them and fulfill her dream to be featured in Life magazine.

Rest of the story is a beautiful amalgam of these three people and 2 animals journey. Both Woody and Red are harboring some secrets, there are some cunning Zoo people who want to steal their Giraffes, and many more obstacles including some mother Nature’s one too. They are also in hurry due to the injured situation of she-Giraffe. But in this journey, they all found themselves with the help of the towering creatures of God’s pure Eden.

This is a story of grace of animals, human kindness which put together these people with an unbreakable bond. Although story is bittersweet, full of death, murder, racism, it puts a smile afterwords, because that is a life lived fully as it is meant to be.

My Rating — 5

On the scale of: (1- Hate , 2- Neither like nor dislike, 3- Like, 4- Love, 5- Gaga)

Why anyone else should read this Book?

It’s a small book and page turner. I could hardly put it down once started.

I always loved animal, but I could never tell in words how much. In this book, several times, writers touches my heart. She portrayed love for an animal so beautifully what can’t be expressed in words. Animals are really a true joy and purest souls on this earth, and all animal-lovers should read this book.

I give a book 5 when it can move me to tears or extreme emotions. This book does that several times. I’ve seen Giraffe’s several time, but after reading this I want to see them again, this time with a different perspective. That’s the beauty of a good book, it changes you. And such a book should be a must read.

Thanks again Piyush Sharma for referring me such a beautiful book. It’s going in my forever collection.

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” – Paul Sweeney


One thought on “West with Giraffes

  1. Awww ! So sweet of you. I knew that you will definitely love the story. My criteria for giving any book 5 star is that it should be good enough to be in my house book-shelf and this book will definitely find its place there 😊. Such a nice review and I loved the last quotation in the review.

    Liked by 1 person

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