West with Giraffes – a Book Review

Heading out to the Sylvia Beach Book B & B with my sisters and niece last month, I knew that I would need a stack of great books. What an opportunity! What a dream! To sit and read, uninterrupted, for days on end, in a foggy, beach-side historic inn. I didn’t want to waste a second, reading something that was not fabulous.

A couple of days before leaving home, book stack taking up most of my carry-on suitcase, I happened to talk to my friend Carolee (a former librarian – my favorite kind of person:) about another issue. I mentioned my trip, knowing that she would love the idea. “You MUST read West With Giraffes,” she insisted. “You will love it!”

Well, my books were already bought and packed and I didn’t have room for more in my suitcase, but I filed away the title in my addled little brain. When we arrived at the inn a day or two later, there, prominently displayed in the tiny gift shop was West With Giraffes. Of course, I took that as a sign and purchased it immediately.

In an easy chair next to a roaring fire (it was in the 50’s and 60’s there on that foggy shore), I fell into one of the best stories I’ve read in a long, long time. Actually, my friend Linda (and the best reader that I know) wrote to tell me that my recommendation of West with Giraffes was right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird for her. I would have to agree. And, for a couple of southern gals “of a certain age,” that is quite the endorsement.

The story follows a young Woodrow Wilson Nickel (age 105 as he narrates the yarn) through a journey across the country, right smack in the middle of the Depression. He hires on to help drive two giraffes from the northeast all the way across the country to San Diego. There is, of course, a love story, some danger and intrigue, and just an all-around well-told story with a satisfying ending. Based on true events, the characters carry the tale along beautifully.

The author, Lynda Rutledge, is a Texan, which endears her to me. Her Googled age is 73, which endears her even further:). She has had an eclectic freelance career writing nonfiction for many well-known publications. Her previous book, Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale is on my TBR.

Can’t wait.

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