Thursday, August 13, 2009
Well, originally I was going to write about how effective a nonfiction writer can be. Then I looked around the web for impressions other readers gave of Never Cry Wolf.
It seems it is not totally nonfiction. But Farley Mowat's book did spur readers to rally around the cause of conservation. Wolves were being exterminated rapidly until he showed how much of "common knowledge" about them was just wrong.
Mowat told his story with a bit of "poetic license," you might say. He writes about being posted in the Canadian wilderness alone to study the wolf. Actually, he was part of an expedition of three biologists and was never alone, according to his supervisor, Frank Banfield (of the Canadian Wildlife Federation).
In Mowat's latest book, Otherwise, he backs off. He doesn't claim that he saw wolves surviving primarily on rodents, or that he tried such a diet to determine if they supplied him enough protein to survive the winter.
But I still recommend the book. Readers learn about wolves (Understanding wild dogs helps us understand our pets, for one thing.), and Mr. Mowat is a good writer. He will make you laugh. His descriptions of interactions with the government bureaucracy are hilarious. A little exaggerating for comic effect? We can only hope.
I laughed enough that I know I will read more of his books. Otherwise sounds like one I might want to review. Stay tuned.