Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story is an autobiographical account of the life and work of Dame Daphne Sheldrick. Born and raised in Kenya, Sheldrick was a lover of and advocate for nature even in childhood. Both her first and second husband’s jobs gave her the opportunity to live in various Kenyan National Parks, where she came in contact with many orphaned animals, from elephants and rhinos to birds and impala. These experiences led to her life’s work–to rescue, raise, and reintroduce into the wild orphaned animals. The title of this book is very appropriate because it really is about the love between husband and wife, parent and child, and human and animal; the ups and downs of life; and of course the animals!
I have to admit, I picked up this book out of nostalgia for my time abroad in South Africa, and although it takes place in Kenya, it didn’t disappoint. Many of the animals she raised, including zebra, impala, eland, rhinos, and of course elephants were animals I encountered in South Africa. The struggle against poaching that Sheldrick so ardently describes in the book hit close to home as well, since I learned quite a bit about the very real danger rhinos are in due to poaching in South Africa right now.
I also have to admit that when I first started reading, I was a little afraid that the book would turn out to be boring, but luckily that was not the case! Sheldrick writes clearly and eloquently, and she created a story that is full of both facts and emotion. Anyone with a soft spot in their heart for Africa, animals, and/or a good love story will not be disappointed in this book!
Sheldrick, Daphne. Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Image from Goodreads.com.