It is said that you don’t rescue dogs. They rescue you. This saying reflects the connection we can have with our pets. Especially dogs, who are said to have had a relationship with humans for thousands of years.
When we adopt a dog, we think we're giving them a new lease on life, but in reality, they often give us so much more in return. Joy, comfort, companionship and a sense of purpose. They make us better humans. This idea of animals rescuing humans is the central theme in my guest Lynda Rutledge's brilliant novel, West with Giraffes.
The book follows the journey of Woodrow Wilson Nickel, or Woody, a seventeen-year-old boy who drove two giraffes cross-country from New York to the San Diego Zoo. This novel is based on a true story—events that happened in 1938. The two giraffes survive the high seas and braved a storm that almost killed them. Then they needed to be transported to the San Diego Zoo.
As Woody—and this travelling companion, the Old Man, navigate the challenges of the journey, the giraffes become not just his companions, but his teachers, showing him the beauty and grace of the world around him.
What strikes me about West with Giraffes is how it channels the classic American novel style of writing and storytelling. It's a literary gem that will have you feeling like you're living in 1938 America, driving alongside Woody.
The parallels with Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird are impossible to ignore. Both novels explore themes of coming-of-age, social injustice, and the power of empathy, all set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America.
While modern writing often reflects the times we live in and the technology we use, Lynda Rutledge proves in this novel that she has the ability to carry forward the tradition of great American authors like Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, and Mark Twain. Her writing is just as compelling.
She joins me from her home in Austin, Texas.
ABOUT LYNDA RUTLEDGE
Lynda Rutledge, a lifelong animal lover, has had the joy of petting baby rhinos, snorkeling with endangered turtles, and strolling with a tower of giraffes in her eclectic freelance career writing nonfiction for well-known publications and organizations while winning awards for her fiction. Her debut novel, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, won the 2013 Writers League of Texas Book Award for Fiction and was adapted into a major 2019 French film starring Catherine Deneuve. She, her husband, and resident dog, live outside Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.lyndarutledge.com
Buy West With Giraffes: https://amzn.to/41b9igo
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Special guest Linda Persson joins co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav and host Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the interesting origins of the phrase, "TWO SHAKES OF A RAT'S TAIL".
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