Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)
The Elephant Keeper
Tom is introduced to two Asian elephants in the 1750's. Hired as a keeper for the elephants he soon is caught up in their lives, watching them so closely that he is soon able to communicate with them and almost speak to them. We follow Tom and his elephants, Timothy and Jenny on their travels in England and as a result learn about life in England in the 18th century, especially the differences between the gentry and the poor.
The author has attempted to write in the style of the 19th century novel but characters and events are not always clear. Some characters are stereotypes as Mr. Singleton, the son of the manor and his desire for the servant girls. There is a great deal of fascinating information about elephants found in the book but reader one must suspend belief to thoroughly enjoy the novel.
Patty S. (Baltimore, MD)
Of Elephants and People
Elephants are such wonderful creatures. I applaud Nicholson for his understanding of their intelligence and grace. His writing style didn't always hold my attention, though, and some of the dialogue distracted me from the story; it felt misplaced. Tom's conversations with Jenny will seem familiar to anyone who feels a close connection to animals. Some scenes will be hard for animal lovers to stomach.
Amellia H. (Omaha, Nebraska)
Let's see, I would have to say this is reminiscent of "Water for Elephants." Not completely because of the "elephant" theme, but rather a book in which you learn so much! I loved the characters ... all of them, from the Timothy to Lord Bidborough, good or bad, happy or sad. I even loved the obsessive nature of one of the characters, it makes that character all too real! I think many readers will immediately fall in love with learning the lives of elephants. I know I did, and I also learned what amazing memories elephants have. You can't help but look at the elephants at the zoo in a new way. Give this a try, I don't see how you could be disappointed! :)
Debi B. (Charleston, SC)
The Elephant Keeper
I liked reading this book....a story within a story. Even though Tom (the protagonist) thought writing The History of The Elephant would be "a dull affair", it was anything but dull.
This is a captivating story of a boy and two elephants he takes care of and raises. At times it made me smile and other times, brought tears to my eyes. I will always think of Tom and Jenny disappearing in the fog.
Anyone who has an appreciation and fascination for elephants or animals, will like this book.
Melissa W. (Savage, MN)
A Touching Story
Although I was drawn into the story at the beginning, near the middle it started to slow down for me. The relationship between Tom and Jenny showed how intense Tom's affection toward Jenny and his love of elephants had become. I was not surprised by the cruelty towards elephants during that time period, especially after having read Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants," but I was surprised at how little I knew about elephants and their habits. Mr. Nicholson really did his homework for this book, and I was impressed.
Susan B. (Rutledge, MO)
this is a Keeper!
I really enjoyed this book. I found the style engaging and consistent with the time frame and location (18th century England). The character of the narrator-cum-hero was interesting, if occasionally perplexing, and the author did a good job of making the keepers near-obsession with his elephant charges seem utterly reasonable.
Readers interested in the setting, animals in general, or elephants in particular, should enjoy this one. I read it the same week I read Sara Gruen's Water for Elephant, and I think anyone who liked Water would also want to read Keeper.
Kathryn K. (Oceanside, CA)
A Joy to Read!
Every once in a while a book comes along that is a joy to read. This coming of age story about a boy and an elephant is such a book.
Set in 18th century England, it is amusing, moving, as well as fascinating. Its really a love story a tale about a young boy and Jenny, the elephant, growing into adulthood together. Thanks to Nicholson, Ill never think about elephants in the same way again! Who says dog is mans best friend? In this story its an elephant! When I finished the last page, I thought with a sigh -- what a great read! It's a "keeper" -- I can't wait to share it with my friends!