Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bookshelf: Shreve Stockton


About a year ago I stumbled upon and fell in love. At the time it was simply a quick peek and then it fell into the recesses of my mind but upon one of my galavants into Downtown Crossing's Borders a few months ago I saw the book on the shelf and grabbed it. I wasn't about to put this one down. I read it, or rather devoured it, over a few days and absolutely loved it. It's a quick read filled with pictures and great descriptions of Shreve's life. She is, simply put, living my dream life. I kid you not. My heart longs to up and move to Wyoming and live out in the wilderness. I drove through it for a few hours on a cross-country trip back in 2005 and instantly fell in love with the rolling expanse. The one thing holding me back from living out this dream is that my family mostly lives on the East Coast and we're attached at the hip. But luckily I was able to live vicariously through Shreve's story of how she ended up living in a small shack (with no indoor plumbing) in a town of a few hundred in Wyoming with her cat and a baby coyote.
I'm not going to lie. I have a wild imagination (mayabe why I'm a writer?) and I used to long for the otter that lived in the swamp across from my driveway to become my friend. The closest I got to having a wild pet was the three-legged turtle I found on the side of the road as a kid. Miss Murtle only stayed with us for a year before we set her free and she didn't do much besides swim around the aquarium and sunbathe on her rock. It wasn't quite the adventure I had hoped for. Some animals are not meant to be contained. But in Shreve's (and Charlie's) case, once you've been domesticated being sent back into the wild to live can be a death sentence.
Shreve's man-friend, who incidentally works as a shooter/trapper of coyotes, gives her a few-day-old pup to raise. So far it had just Shreve and her orange tabby but she willingly takes on the task of mother to the little furry thing. The tales that follow are really just incredible.
What struck me about the book, besides encompassing my wildest dreams, is that it's not sugar coated by any means. Shreve and Charlie, as he grows into an adolecent coyote, both have issues. It's not a happy-go-lucky story of taking in a wild animal and having everything work out peachy. In fact, things get a bit scary. But that's what I love about it. Also, Shreve's uncanny ability to capture the best moments of their life together on film just tops the story. You can take a look at the website and see even more photos as well as short accounts blogged of daily life. But you should really start with the book. It's a rugged, enjoyable story for anyone with a longing for the untamed west. And for those romance lovers out there, there's a smidge of that thrown in too.
So check out "The Daily Coyote" and the website as well. I promise you'll fall in love with Charlie. I know I have.

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