Well, another book down. This one was more simple reading for me.
Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo.
I know, I know, a children’s book! I thought I would give it a go. Maybe I was feeling a little nostalgic, I read a couple of his books when I was a lot younger.
I actually enjoyed this book. I suppose for me it did feel a little bit rushed, but I think that is because I am used to reading larger books which tend to go on for a while, where as this is aimed at young people.
WARNING: There are SPOILERS ahead
So the book is about a young boy called Will from England. He loses his father in the Iraq war and him and his mother spend a lot of time at his grandparent’s farm in Devon. He doesn’t cope well at school following the loss of his father and one day Will and his mum come back from Devon to their home and his mum gets another large suitcase out of the house and basically tells him that they are off to Indonesia because his grandparents had suggested that they go away for a while.
They are spending Christmas in Indonesia in 2004. Well for those who don’t know what happened that year, Indonesia was hit by a Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. This affected other places; Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and some of Bangladesh (the most affected places), but the epicentre of the Tsunami was Indonesia.
Will has always wanted to ride an elephant and asks his mum if he can have a go whilst they are on holiday. Boxing Day 2004, Will has a ride on an elephant called Oona. To cut a review short(er), Oona senses that something is going to happen. She usually loves the sea, however she refuses to go near it, and when the sea starts to get sucked further and further out, leaving fish lying on land, Oona runs. She runs and runs and runs with Will on her back, into the jungle. Will realises what is happening and is distraught because his mum had said she was going for a swim. He resigns himself that his mum is dead.
Oona basically cares for Will in the jungle. He encounters both friend and foe, the worst of all is a hunter called Mister Anthony. He hires men to hunt down animals in the jungle, either dead or alive to sell. They kill a magnificent tiger whom Will has encountered many times in the jungle. His men also kill a lot of Orangutans when Will and Oona have found themselves in an Orangutan group. Oona escapes, however Will is captured along with three baby Orangutans.
They eventually escape (missing out a lot to not spoil it too much) and Will finds himself caring as a mother, for those three orphaned Orangutans. Eventually Oona finds them and with her is one of the Orangutan baby’s mother. Just when you think everything is fine, there is a forest fire (courtesy of Mister Anthony). They manage to make it to safety. Oona follows the mother Orangutan who leads them to a lady called Dr Geraldine. Will is really ill and spends a good amount of time in bed sleeping whilst he is cared for by Dr Geraldine. Oona never leaves his side. When he is better he discovers that this place he has been taken to is an Orangutan Sanctuary. They rescue orphans, care for them and then when they are ready, release them back into the wild. Dr Geraldine knows exactly who Will is because the year….yes YEAR! That he has been in the jungle, his grandparents have been looking for him the entire time! They have left posters everywhere and Dr Geraldine had a visit from them and she still had the poster. She rings them and tells them that he has been found.
Will doesn’t want to go home. He doesn’t want to leave Oona and the Orangutans, he feels that this is his new home and that England is another life. The long and short of it is that he chooses to stay where he is and his grandparents end up selling their farm and moving to the Orangutan sanctuary to be with Will and to work there.
This book is actually one of the very, very, very, very, very few that has brought tears to my eyes. It usually involves animals (humans don’t really make me cry, I am an animal person). It was the thought of Will having to leave behind Oona and the Orangutans who didn’t want him to go. It was also the fact that through the book you think that Will’s mum will be alive at the end by some miracle, however this isn’t the case she actually is dead and I has sympathy that he had lost both of his parents.
Honestly, for a book which is written for young people I really did enjoy it. It was easy to follow, it made me feel angry, sad and happy and I couldn’t stop reading it.
If any of you have children who like to read, this is a book for them! If you don’t….make an excuse to read it.