The Puma Years: A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle

Laura Coleman. Little A, $24.95 (324p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2219-4
Coleman’s adrenaline rush–inducing debut transports readers along on her 2007 adventure to the Amazon jungle of Bolivia, where a backpacking trip at age 24 “meant to give perspective” led to volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary. There, she cared for pumas, jaguars, and ocelots rescued from the illegal pet trade. Coleman writes of feeling like a “scared little kid” upon arriving at the camp with “huts and dilapidated buildings” without electricity or hot water and “what is less toilet, more infinity hole.” She was assigned to take care of one particularly grumbly puma named Wayra, who was housed in a cage in the forest and seemed just as terrified as her of getting too close. Gradually Coleman gained Wayra’s trust, and their relationship “opened a window and pulled me through.” Upon returning to her home in England, Coleman founded an arts charity in 2012 “dedicated to environmental justice,” and she has occasionally gone back to the Bolivian sanctuary. Set against a backdrop of the constant threat to a jungle vulnerable to forest fires, flooding, and deforestation, Coleman’s purpose-finding journey also offers a call to action for addressing the heartbreaking circumstances of wild animals in peril. Conservation-minded readers will want to take a look. Agent: Samar Hammam, Rocking Chair Books (June)
Reviewed on : 03/03/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-1-5420-2218-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7135-5508-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-7135-5509-4
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