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Summary

 

An emotional, rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America.

“Few true friends have I known and two were giraffes…”

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.

Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

 

©2021 Lynda Rutledge (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about West with Giraffes

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In-put-down-able

If you do nothing else this year, you need to listen/read this book. Amazing

1 person found this helpful

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An emotionally charged true story

I loved this true story from the beginning to the end.
the narrator's voice was perfect.
my most memorable moments include physically leaning to lend weight to righting the teetering load on the mountain pass, slamming the cage door closed on the evil cooter and feeling the warm snuffles and oft times accompanying spitballs while cradling big girl and boy's heads.

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easy to listen to.

really enjoyed this book.
you live through the ups and downs as it progresses willing them to succeed.

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Highly evocative

I was lost in the images conjured by the storyline. The narrators voice is completely appropriate. Heartwarming and emotionally evocative. One of those books that will stay with me forever.

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Like Mice & Men

The style reminded me of 'Of Mice & Men's. Agentle style with great pathos. it would be a good GCSE study book. Lots of themes
Young innocent love
Animal conservation
Boy-Man.
Poverty but fulfillment.
Much enjoyed.

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SO GOOD!

Initially the narrators voice was a surprise but then the story kicked in and it was perfect. Really thought provoking story. Loved it so much.

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I tried to return but thankfully failed

I’m not a regular reviewer and it has it be really special for me to do so - West with Giraffes is certainly special! When I started listening I just didn’t get it, didn’t understand why they would put such a terrible narrator on the job or why I would ever want to listen to this book. It didn’t take me long to say enough is enough and I tried (and failed) to return it online. I listened to something else and moved on.

One day I was mowing the grass and listening to the new book and suddenly reached the end and as I can’t imagine mowing without a book to listen to I just stuck on West with Giraffes to pass the time. I started again and this time it all made sense though not straight away but by the time the grass was mown I knew I needed to hear more. My husband and I listen to books together on our daily walks but although we both are mowing at the same time, it’s just not possible to share listening at that time and the books I listen to then are ones I have reckoned he wouldn’t care for. Last mowing, just as we were finishing the cutting, I finished the book. I was quite emotional when I spoke to my husband and said that although we’ve listened to hundreds of books this had to be up there with the very best of them. I also said I expect they’ll make a film of it - they should! Provided they could with no harm to giraffes in anyway!! I also said that this will be the first book we listen to together after we’ve worked our way through the lengthy list of David Baldacci novels. I know my husband will get the same feelings from as I did and he, too, will love this book and I will get to hear it all again. It will be the first I’ve listened to twice!!

As for the narrator, if you stick with the book just a little while you’ll see why Danny Campbell is the perfect choice.

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Loved it

Original and engaging story. The narrator's voice felt authentic. One of those books you don't want to end.

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Brilliant l

Best book I've ever read. I also love giraffes. I'll never forget this story. So moving.

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  • FL Bird Woman
  • 19-02-21

Gritty, sweet, amazing, sad, uplifting

I am NOT a writer and struggle with writing a review. This story should be shared, though! Was searching for something different to read, something different from the brain candy I gravitate toward. It is a peek back into a time in our history that many may want to forget, a time that most alive now can never experience. It's a love story .. and yet, depicts that there can be a blurry line between love and hate... or fear... it's about bravery, cowardice, consequences and compassion. AND it's just downright a readable and enjoyable story. I started with the Kindle book but bought the audio too, and I'm glad I did. The narration really added something special.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara Field, LMFT, LAADC
  • 03-02-21

Wonderful Story

Seldom do you find a book that teaches a history lesson (The great depression and the dust bowl experience in the late 1930's), and a zoology lesson (Learning about the giraffes), while shedding light on multiple cultural themes (racism, sexism, animal rights, parent-child influence, poverty, etc) woven into such an engaging journey. the narrator is perfect to tell this story. I couldn't wait to get to what was coming next. I highly recommend this for readers if all ages.

21 people found this helpful

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  • JM
  • 02-02-21

Fantastic Story

This is a great feel good kinda story about 2 giraffes brought to the United States in 1938,, arriving in New York City and transported by truck 3,200 miles to the San Diego Zoo..Part adventure, part historical and part love story between humans and animals. The two amazing giraffes are referred to as "Our Darlings" in the story. Danny Campdell does a good job of narrating...This was one of my two selections from Prime First Reads, then when the audio book came out, I snapped it up.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth Stringer
  • 22-02-21

Great Storytelling

This one may surprise you. There is not much plot, and not even much characterization...but it’s a great story. Just darn good storytelling! Hated for it to be over.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Snowwillow
  • 21-02-21

This story will make your heart smile!

When I first saw that giraffe at a preserve near Gualala, California on the coast, I could not believe the graceful walk, big eyes and curious tongue. So absolutely mesmerizing, I have never forgotten. When I saw West with Giraffes, I couldn’t help but put it on my audible to listen to as I drove from Colorado to Texas. The trip went by like a flash as the author immersed me in such a delightful story that makes me wish I could be back in their presence again. The reader was just terrific and story is very worth your while. You will want a giraffe’s song to rumble in your bones too. Highly recommend it when you have time to listen!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-21

Excellent!

Very well written. Loved this amazing story travelling with giraffe s across the country. I loved how the 17 year old boy and a woman with a desire to just spend their time seeing them safely to the zoo. It's definately a unique storyline! Hurray for the giraffe!

7 people found this helpful

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  • D2
  • 26-03-21

Fabulous, heartwarming story

One of those books that I race to find out what happens next, but don't want the story to end. Glimpses of the 1930's in the US, a young man's coming of age adventure and a special nod to the beginnings of the San Diego Zoo. loved it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Akarags
  • 30-03-21

Giraffes Rock!

I enjoyed West With Giraffes right out of the shipyard. Danny Campbell is a stellar narrator who gave voice to the characters. I recommend this audio to everyone.

2 people found this helpful

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  • 6ftSophia
  • 30-03-21

Charming

A thrilling and charming true story. Loved every minute of it. I'd be shocked if this isn't made into a movie.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-21

heart warming and sad

The road trip across the United States was heart warming, full of redemption, hope, dreams, and adventure. In contrast, the after story was sad and disappointing. I had tears in my eyes. Almost like two different authors put the story together.

2 people found this helpful