Book Review: Born Free by Joy Adamson

When I was younger there were only a handful of films that I would watch on repeat. Born Free was one of those films. In awe of the fascinating story that, at the time of the book’s first publication, wowed the world, I found myself just as amazed by the tale of the lioness that was returned to the wild.

So when I found a copy of Joy Adamson’s Born Free in a charity shop, I couldn’t pick it up quick enough.

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Born Free by Joy Adamson

Born Free: Plot Synopsis

The great Elsa the lioness classics, Born Free, Living Free, Forever Free, at last back in print in one volume. Joy Adamson is world-famous as the woman who walked with lions. These are the books that brought the story of her work to a public whose imagination was captured by the discovery of this remarkable interaction between man and beast. Born Free was first published in 1960, and tells the story of her relationship with Elsa, raising her from a young cub and later releasing her into the wild. Living Free and Forever Free continues Elsa's story and that of her cubs. Immortalised in film by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, this is the original story for a new generation of readers to discover for themselves.

A review of Born Free by Joy Adamson:

Born Free is a truly exceptional story, showing not only the amazing journey that Joy and George Adamson went on in finding, and then later releasing Elsa to the wild, but also the beautiful companionship that animals can bring with them.

Although a little repetitive at times, as it goes into a lot of detail about Elsa’s daily routine, it did provide an incredible insight into exactly what it took to prepare the lioness for her return to the wild.

It cannot go unsaid that at times, the book talks of moments that are perhaps not as acceptable today – namely the killing of animals in the safety of Elsa – but times have changed so it’s understandable that some elements may not sit comfortably for today’s readers.

Born Free by Joy Adamson

That said, overall the story is one about compassion, companionship, love, devotion and the incredibly descriptive language will leave you feeling as though you’re right there alongside Joy, George and Elsa.

Complete with some beautiful, real photographs of Elsa and her human family, this book is a wonderful edition for any animal lover.

So, many years after I first watched Born Free the film, I can safely say that the book is just as magical, if not more so. And I’m glad I finally have a copy of my own that can sit proudly on my bookshelf.

Born Free by Joy Adamson Book Review
Book review - Born Free by Joy Adamson

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I'm Shannon. Welcome to Tales from the Country, a countryside lifestyle blog for those who dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of life and about embracing all that comes from living in the British countryside.

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  1. 12.10.20
    Sarah said:

    I remember watching the Born Free movie and absolutely loving it. The Adamson’s were such amazing people dedicating their lives to helping wildlife. I remember reading this one before, back in the days when I was obsessed with learning about wildlife conservation and I think I reread it recently as well. I think you would enjoy reading The Lions’ Legacy and Last of the Free by Gareth Patterson, a man who knew the Adamson’s and followed in their footsteps helping lions.