Wild Heart: The Story of Joy Adamson, Author of Born Free

Anne E. Neimark, Author, Neimark, Author Harcourt Children's Books $17 (128p) ISBN 978-0-15-201368-4
Fans of Born Free will likely be disappointed with this cursory view of ethologist Joy Adamson's life and work. The early chapters in this profile of one of the world's most visionary conservationists and animal rights activists gets bogged down in glancing references to her three marriages, extramarital affairs and an abortion. Consequently, Adamson often comes off as a capricious schoolgirl (e.g., after George Adamson, who would become her third husband, tells her he's in love with her, she ""could hardly concentrate on the smallest task""). Neimark (Myth Maker: J.R.R. Tolkien) touches on some interesting facts--Adamson's refusal to visit her anti-Semitic stepfather in her native Austria at the dawn of Nazism; her early renown as a botanical artist and her later mistreatment by the Nairobi government, which cheated her of the proceeds from the duplication and sales of her original drawings. But Elsa, the lioness that changed the course of Adamson's career, doesn't enter until over halfway through the volume and merits just three chapters; readers get a fleeting look at the relationship that would spawn several books, a landmark film and Adamson's lifelong commitment to conserving territory for African wildlife. A bibliography reveals that the bulk of the author's resources are Adamson's own writings, but little light is shed here on this extraordinary woman. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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