Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bambi II -- the Revenge

I just finished reading one of those books that makes you feel happy and like a total jerk at the same time. It's Helen Hoover's The Gift of the Deer, which Terry Pratchett might describe as one of those "every creature his brother" situations in which Ridcully the Brown would fit as well as a Mormon in Rome.

Hoover's book features three generations of deer who find food, refuge, attacking hens and the dubious benefits of human companionship in the meadows and forests surrounding the remote Minnesota cabin Hoover and her husband Ade lived in during the 1960s. It's not as preachy as other "we can live with nature" books that I've read and, in one glaring way, goes against what I've learned about wild animals -- regularly feeding them near human habitation is not the smartest thing to do, because they become accustomed to humans, not all of whom are the nice "every creature his brother" type. But, I suppose, Hoover's novel does describe the "humans and animals living in peace and felicity" we can read about in other books, such as the Forgotten Door and, strangely enough, Doctrine and Covenants Section 77.

Hoover preaches against those who have injured animals put down for "reasons they call humane" -- yet is the indirect cause of the demise of four of the eight deer who share the meadow and the family's hospitality because they've become accustomed to humans and recognize too late the dangers of humans toting rifles.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading the book, nor would I mind repeating Hoover's experiences, but in an Edward Bellamy world, not necessarily our own.

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