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West with Giraffes


A rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who won ...
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Overall, what did you think of West with Giraffes? (No spoilers, please)

Created: 04/20/23

Replies: 44

Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

Overall, what did you think of West with Giraffes? (No spoilers, please)

Overall, what did you think of West with Giraffes? (No spoilers, please)


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jjbryant

Join Date: 04/12/23

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

A compelling story that takes you through the highs and lows of a pretty fantastic journey during a tough era in American history.


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gloriam

Join Date: 03/19/23

Posts: 59

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Novels about the depression era are not my favorite genre. My grandparents and parents survived the depression and shared so many stories with me. But, this book had giraffes!!! It was a very enjoyable read, with characters I cared about and I read it very quickly.


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cls1230

Join Date: 04/30/21

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really enjoyed this book. It had been recommended to me by a friend so I was thrilled to see a copy of it offered on BookBrowse. It had adventure, a little romance, some history and was a wonderful “coming of age” story. I loved the characters, Woody, the “Old Man” and Red. I really liked that it was based on real events. I have recommended this book to several people.


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 127

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I also really enjoyed this book. It was a fun and easy story to read, even though there were plenty of painful and sad moments. I loved the connection between the human characters and giraffes. It was a breath of fresh air and a very good distraction and escape from the disturbing things happening in the world today.


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 280

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I usually avoid books centered around animals because I cannot stand reading any cruelty towards them. I was encouraged to try this novel and I am so glad I did. The very few episodes where animals were not treated well were well telegraphed and I was able to skip those parts. Additionally both Woody and the Old Man were animals lovers and protectors. The story was very engaging and I was rooting for the giraffes all along. I loved the historical details, well researched and well written. This one will stay with me for a long time.


Posted Apr. 21, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 264

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really enjoyed the book and the story drew right in and wanted to ride with them to the end. The author provided enough detail so the reader felt part of the lives of Woody and the Old Man as made the journey from New York to San Diego Zoo both the high and low parts. The author did an excellent job in the researching this historical novel plus making it an enjoyable and engaging read.


Posted Apr. 21, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
wendya

Join Date: 01/06/22

Posts: 13

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

boring, boring and boring.


Posted Apr. 21, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 264

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

An enjoyable and thought provoking book that drew you to wonder what would be Woody's and the Old Man's next adventure to enjoy and dilemmas to resolve. The reader became part of their lives and saw how Woody matured and the Old Man got to trust and rely on others.


Posted Apr. 21, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizaj

Join Date: 03/02/23

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I think parts of this story will stay with me for some time. I appreciated the author’s efforts in taking a historical deep dive to bring such a unique story to light. The only story I ever read with a remotely similar concept was Life of Pi. And even after that I still never really considered the effort and logistics involved in moving wild animals from one location to another and I surely never considered what that task would be like during the Great Depression. I became most absorbed in the kinder parts of the story. The shear amazement Woody, Red and every other onlooker felt upon seeing the giraffes warmed my heart. The giraffes were so magical it must have been a life changing experience for all who actually saw them being transported on the highway. I also really enjoyed learning about how the giraffes screamed or hummed or kicked or cuddled. The author humanized them and I do believe that they were important characters, as opposed to just being a cargo mission.


Posted Apr. 22, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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oelw

Join Date: 04/22/23

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

Where you are in your lifeline seems to impact your emotional response to books.

Having recently placed my sister in dementia care, I was particularly touched by the Old Man-Woodys (there are two old men in this book) interactions with nursing home staff and his perspective or reality versus theirs. Understanding the reality of an aging person with dementia and hallucinations is beyond the “normal” persons capability.

The Old Man-Woody’s perspective and what he was doing or trying to do with his fixation on writing, made me realize how little we can grasp of what is truly happening in the dementia mind.


Posted Apr. 22, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethb

Join Date: 04/08/13

Posts: 41

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

This was one of the most unusual books I've ever read. Also one of the very best. What skill the author displayed with making a cross-country trip such a page turner.


Posted Apr. 22, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 208

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

After starting West With Giraffes, I could not put the book down. I completely immersed myself in the story and rooted for Woody, Red, the Old Man, Girl, Boy, and even the truck!


Posted Apr. 22, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 499

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really enjoyed the book and appreciate the work the author did in researching this story. The characters were very well developed and I could feel for each one of them and what they were dealing with during the Depression era. The author covered so many themes; from poverty, racism, animal cruelty,circus vs, zoos, and coming of age and death. And did it very well. I would and have recommended this book.


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethb

Join Date: 04/08/13

Posts: 41

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

This was not a book to walk away from without carrying the vivid characters with you. Such determination, homegrown wisdom, and positive outlook despite a plethora of roadblocks.


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

What a pleasure it was to read this book! While I was rooting for the journey to be a success, by the time the group made it to Arizona, I wanted them to slow down. Woody’s learning to appreciate the little blessings in life touched me deep in my soul-what an incredible lesson he taught me. I didn’t want their story to end. And then I realized that this is the gift and beauty of stories. We don’t have to let them end as long as we continue to share them with others.


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gloriam

Join Date: 03/19/23

Posts: 59

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

As a new BookBrowse member, I am happy to report that I am enjoying this discussion! So much better than the more rigid options available—we get the opportunity to pick the book(s) we are interested in and choose the level of participation we wish. And with the added bonus of selecting convenient times based on our own schedules. I am also appreciating everyone's comments-it is interesting to see everyone's viewpoints!!


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

Welcome to BookBrowse gloriam! So happy you are enjoying it. We are glad you are here. 😊


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Arlene

Join Date: 04/23/23

Posts: 10

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I was fascinated by the story, it was such an original way to look at these individuals trying to make this journey. I thought it was very captivating


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 259

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really liked it! I thought it was a very unique story and I loved the historical aspect of it. Great character development and an interesting story!


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
job

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 27

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

Unlike most of your discussion readers, I do not find this book to be a compelling page turner. The idea appealed to me, but I feel the story to be uninteresting and a bit contrived at times. The author did a good job of building suspense for some of the driving escapades that Woody was involved in. I’m only half way through the book, but i don’t see that I will be any more interested in the story than I am now


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 424

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really enjoyed this story. Knowing that there was a factual concept to it made it all that much more intriguing.


Posted Apr. 24, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynne z

Join Date: 01/06/18

Posts: 65

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

The story seemed contrived. Historical fiction is a genre I like when it includes many real-life events and then develops the fictional side of the story that aligns through conversations and plot. There was very little historical information aside from brief newspaper articles and the historical notes addendum. As for the addendum, the entries, except for Belle Benchley had little to add to the "real" story.


Posted Apr. 24, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gloriam

Join Date: 03/19/23

Posts: 59

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

Thank you for the warm welcome acstrine!


Posted Apr. 25, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 564

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I liked this book a lot and particularly appreciated the fact that it's based on true events. Animal stories have appealed to me my whole life, and as an adult my animal-lover heart has been intensified by many years of NGO volunteering with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation as well as USA-based volunteering with domestic animals.


Posted Apr. 26, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Galatea

Join Date: 10/21/22

Posts: 24

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I really loved the story. For me, knowing that such an event actually happened, even if not exactly as Rutledge had portrayed it added depth and emotional impact to the whole book. And with Woody’s philosophizing at the end the book was one of the most emotionally satisfying books I’ve read in a long time. I’ve recommended it to our book club and to every reader I know.


Posted Apr. 26, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tsquared

Join Date: 10/20/21

Posts: 25

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I enjoyed the book. In the words of Red, "We had some adventure!" While the premise of delivering the giraffes to the San Diego Zoo was interesting, it was really the characters & their interactions with the giraffes & the other humans along the route that made me enjoy it so much. Just like any good road trip should be--full of ups & downs & lessons that you weren't expecting when you started out!


Posted Apr. 27, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gabi

Join Date: 02/22/21

Posts: 111

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I read this book a year or so ago and was lukewarm on it. I enjoyed the historical fiction element of the story as well as the relationship between Woody and the giraffes but overall thought it was a lackluster read.


Posted Apr. 27, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 100

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I had to read this for one of my book groups - it is not a book I would have chosen on my own, but that's one of the pleasures of book groups! I really enjoyed it - the travels, the history lesson, the characters.


Posted Apr. 27, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannef

Join Date: 06/15/22

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I just finished the book and I just stopped crying long enough to write this! This is a beautiful story, especially for a passionate animal lover like myself. The majestic beauty of the giraffes touched me in every way. Perhaps this was also heightened by my experience a few years ago on an African safari. To see giraffes, as well as a multitude of other animals, in their natural habitat living free, is truly a mesmerizing experience. I highly recommend this book because it is about so much more than 2 giraffes going across the country.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bethb

Join Date: 04/08/13

Posts: 41

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I wholeheartedly agree. Giraffes possess such majesty! Many times in this novel we are shown the fascination people displayed upon seeing them.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
triciat50

Join Date: 02/26/22

Posts: 54

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I absolutely loved this book and have recommended it to several friends. I didn't think I would like it so much at the start--Woody's accent on the page had me grinding my teeth. But I got used to it and got lost in the story. I love historical fiction, and I had never heard of this little episode before.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Patricia Ann

Join Date: 05/24/21

Posts: 101

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

The story included interesting information about the depression, Dust Bowl, Lee Highway, treatment of animals, hardships, and the role of women. The giraffes created positive energy for those that viewed them along their trip across the country and for those reading about them in the newspapers. While reading the story, I found some parts of their journey to be long and not very interesting.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Joyce

Join Date: 10/14/21

Posts: 121

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I absolutely loved this book and am telling everyone I know to read it. It was on my library to-read list and it probably would have been quite a while before I actually got a copy to read, given the long wait list. I am so appreciative to have gotten this copy through Book Browse.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ABeman

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 82

RE: Overall, what did you think of West ...

I love a great road-trip novel, and this is that in the form of well-researched historical fiction inspired by true events, a coming-of-age tale, and a love story. It also calls attention to the plight of an endangered species. It's an inspiring read.


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