West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. Amazon Publishing. February 2021 372. pp.
Two giraffes, in their floating crates, who are expected at the San Francisco Zoo, end up in the Atlantic Ocean due to a hurricane. They are rescued and then driven to the zoo. That part of this book is true, but since there is no written record of their trip across the country that part of the book is fiction. However, it is good historical fiction about the 1935 Depression and all the lives it touched.
The driver of the rig carrying the animals is a young boy whose family farm was lost during that time. He had a very small amount of money and the clothes on his back. He said he had buried his mother and baby sister and then left his home. He is accompanied on the drive by an older man who seems to oversee the giraffes. He becomes a mentor to the boy on their long drive together. They stop in trailer parks and park under a tree to let the giraffes chew on the leaves plus they have food for them, and they develop a relationship with these wonderful animals.
All sorts of things happen along the way, and it is a sort of a miracle that they get to the zoo. Of course, all along the drive people are so excited to see their unusual cargo. They do end up going by the boys’ failed farm and learn another part of what happened just before he left, which is just chilling. I thought this is one of the best books I have ever read. I just loved it.