Thursday, September 13, 2012

From My Journal: A Lion Called Christian

Inspired by my many book journals, this feature spotlights books I've read and loved in the past that I wish to bring to your attention.
When I first saw the classic Christian the Lion Reunion video in 2008, I had the reaction I always have to animal videos/movies/ made me cry. And cry. It still makes me cry to watch it. (I've embedded the video below so you all can join in my cry fest.) Make sure you have a box of kleenex nearby.

The story of George and Joy Adamson, and the entire Born Free saga, has always fascinated me. Just last night I rewatched the Nature documentary Elsa's Legacy, which brought Christian's story back to the forefront of my mind. I bought and read this book as soon as it hit the shelves, and it is one of my favorite books in animal literature ever. In my opinion animals feel love just as greatly as humans do, and this is the proof of that. Christian was taken in by the Adamsons after two young men decided their "pet" deserved to live free in the wild. He settled into his new life, but didn't forget the men who had loved and cared for him as a cub.

Watch the video, read the book, immerse yourself in this unforgettable story. You will never look at the human-animal bond the same again.

Book Description:
In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.

A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions.

Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.

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