Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My take on: Friday's Harbor

Nearly 20 years ago, I went on one of many family trips to Orlando, Florida. I went to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. For some dumb reason I thought it would be a good idea to sit in the first row at Sea World. I thought it would be cool to be splashed by Shamu (or maybe it was one of his descendants). My 11-year-old brain didn't think about the consequences. STUPID!!! I walked around for the rest of the day wet, with stringy hairy, and dry skin due to the saltwater. Why am I bringing any of this up? Reading Friday's Harbor by Diane Hammond brought back the memory!

Recently, I watched the documentary Blackfish, which is about Tilikum -- a whale in captivity at Sea World. The documentary and this book left me with such a deep respect for killer whales. The documentary certainly painted the dark side of killer whales. Friday's Harbor did the same thing, for me, but in a softer and more playful manner.

In this book, Viernes a.k.a Friday is slowly dying in his small pool in Bogota, Colombia. He's a big creature, but utterly alone. The dolphins attack him. His dorsal fin has folded over. His skin is full of lesions. The rich, eccentric, but kind-hearted Ivy Levy makes it her mission to help Friday. Her nephew Truman, is the new director of a zoo in a small town in Washington state. With significant financial help from Aunt Ivy, Truman gives Friday a new home and a chance at a prolonged life. Gabriel Jump leads a team of trainers, including Truman's girlfriend Neva, to nurse Friday back to health. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the whale's arrival. Excitement leads to more people waiting to buy tickets and of course more ticket sales mean more revenue. It should be a win-win for the zoo and the town, but nothing is ever easy.

A rather odd woman named Libertine Adagio feels a connection to Friday. In fact, she feels a connection to all animals. I know a whale isn't an animal, but for these purposes indulge me! Some people see Libertine as an animal psychic, but she sees herself as an animal communicator. She can tell if the animal is happy or sad. She goes where she is called to. Friday is calling her. To start, Truman, Gabriel, and Neva think Libertine is a little bit wackadoo!! I thought the same thing. She has a sweet demeanor. Despite her strong convictions, she is also rather shy. Ivy is immediately drawn to Libertine. Perhaps one oddball can attract another! It is Ivy who convinces Truman and Gabriel to let Libertine volunteer at the zoo. It's then that I began to wonder if that was Libertine's plan all along. As nice as she seems, Libertine also associates with some more extreme animal rights activists. Is taking the volunteer job part of a larger scheme to sabotage the zoo? It's hard to come to that conclusion. Libertine hates seeing animals in captivity, but she comes to see that is what's best for Friday. He's not in danger; Friday is in fact thriving.

I'm pretty sure this is my first foray into animal fiction, and I definitely want to take another trip. Friday's Harbor is actually the sequel to Hannah's Dream, but I don't think you need to know too much about the first book to read this one. Although this is a work of fiction, the author never fails to remind readers that one can never underestimate a killer whale. A once sullen Friday, slowly becomes more playful and rebellious. Diane Hammond shows how one must respect this beautiful creature, but in a humorous and heartwarming way.

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours

1 comment:

  1. I've only read a few books in the animal fiction genre but I've enjoyed the ones I have read. Thanks for the great review for the tour!