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Good Read -- Just Not for Those Afraid of Brackets (Like Me)
on 25 March 2014
This is a most entertaining (but curious) book.
It tells the story of the first celebrity elephant -- the eponymous Jumbo. Abruptly, then, about half way through it stops his story with Jumbo's death and then goes on to provide a miscellany of elephant related stories and information. The chapter relating the various executions of criminal elements amongst the elephant world is morbidly interesting. Throughout the author intersperses the narrative with curious and seemingly more or less random facts about himself (I once lived in California; I was an alcoholic, etc.) and opinions about such things as the general opinions of Americans. Throughout he remains engaging and friendly -- in fact, just a little too informal for taste.
However, what (and you may agree) was a constant irritant (and I mean irritant) throughout was that the author (John Sutherland) interjected the text with a never ending plethora or comments in brackets (like this ()). I would say (but this is just a guess) that he related parenthetical comments about three (though it could have been more) times per page. Some comments were just general thoughts (and that is fair enough), some were there to provide elaboration (by which I mean real embellishment); some were seemingly connected to nothing (Rudolf Nureyev died in 1993) -- but all, as time progressed grated (as I am sure that you can imagine).
Notwithstanding, the material is so absorbing and the author is so good natured that I would recommend this book. One last comment -- the binding and cover are very attractive.