Sunday, February 26, 2012

The story of Brutus by Casey Anderson

The story of Brutus blends together two stories, the story of a bear cub named Brutus, and the man who raised him.  Casey Anderson grew up in Montana, learning to read the signs of animals and how nature works in both its beauty and its brutality.  He developed a love and respect for nature, learning to take from the land while also protecting it, and over the years began moving into work in the wildlife preservation and wild animals for film and television industries.  All of this work leads to a special bear cub that he names Brutus, and the development of the Montana Grizzly Encounter.  It is the story of a very special bear, but also the story of a man who has learned to walk in the wild with grizzlies, respecting their power and strength, and most of all their right to exist in a wild state.  At times the message is delivered with a heavy hand, but when someone has spent as much time in the wild with real grizzlies as Anderson has, you tend to listen. 

The story of the evolution of Anderson the man is peppered with anecdotes of the growth of the relationship between Anderson and Brutus - a very special bear.  There are some hilarious stories of things Brutus did while growing up, as well as some heart warming moments that will make you tear up with sympathy and compassion.  I have never read about grizzly bears before, I have only seen documentaries or the caricatures in movies, and to read about real bears was a real eye opener.  The photographs in the book are stunning, and to see the size of the bears is just amazing - it may be easy for Americans to convert the pounds thing into a mental image, but I think in kilograms so the photos helped to bring home just how huge these bears actually are.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and while I would have preferred more about Brutus than Anderson, the story is woven together in an impressionable way, and you can't help but be drawn into the plight of the animals kept as disposable commodities by people who have no idea of what they are getting into (like with Sheena and Christie), yet there are people like Anderson who will put their blood, sweat, and tears into rescuing them and giving them a real home. 

This story appealed to me because of the bond that Anderson develops with Brutus, and because it reminds people that nature deserves respect and protection.  My mother enjoyed hearing the anecdotes that would pop up in the story, while I know that my 15 year old nephew would enjoy reading this to hear about all the things Anderson has done in his life.  A great read for a wide ranging audience - even if all you do is skim through and look at the amazing images.

If you like this book then try:
  • The man who lives with wolves by Shaun Ellis
  • Part of the pride by Kevin Richardson
  • The elephant whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
  • The emotional lives of animals by Marc Bekoff

Reviewed by Brilla

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