I’ve learned something important over the past few months: always trust my friends with The Nerdy Book Club. I read so many tweets about The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate that I finally decided, I gotta get that book. And I did. And it is wonderful. Told in the voice of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in an animal exhibit in a strip mall, the novel deftly brings us into the mind of an intelligent creature seeking do the right thing for a young elephant, Ruby, who arrives in captivity, too. Ivan has made a promise, and he intends to keep it. I won’t give the story away, except to say that the writing here will touch your spirit and the story will remind you of the importance of family, in whatever shape it comes.
The afterward is also interesting, as Applegate notes that her book was inspired by a true story of a captive gorilla in a mall “zoo” operation, but as she wrote, the story became something more. The One and Only Ivan is a keeper, and Ivan’s voice will linger with you for days, as it has done with me.
Peace (out of captivity),