I bought this book more than a year ago and although the story sounded interesting enough, there it stayed on my shelf….until last month when I decided to take a brief reading break from my “review copies” and decided, to instead, read a book I had previously sought out to buy.
This book is about Zamba, a lion who was born in Africa but who was raised and lived in the United States. This book is also about Zamba’s trainer, Ralph Helfer, whose dream it was to raise and train exotic animals; to train them through love and trust, not through cruelty or fear. Their story takes you through both their childhoods until that fateful day they meet and from there their story is forever intertwined. Zamba lived in the same home and even slept in the same bed as Ralph. Their friendship crossed the normal boundaries between man and beast. The story that Ralph tells is about Zamba, their life together, and the lessons they each learned from one another.
Zamba was a fun book to pick up and read. I found myself drawn to it day after day (and sometimes during the night) and was amazed at how quickly I read through the book. Ralph kept the reader engaged with the many stories he shared which made you want to turn to the next page and the next just to find out the conclusion of each adventure told.
Personally I really enjoyed this book, but part of the reason could be the fact that I am a huge fan of the lion. I was amazed to read about Ralph and how he totally trusted Zamba. And although Zamba couldn’t write about his own feelings towards Ralph, you did get a sense through the stories Ralph shared, that Zamba cared deeply for him. Their adventures together were fun to read about and reading them made me want to share in the wonder of living with a lion…although in real life I would be terrified to approach one, well,maybe not Zamba since I learned how well mannered and friendly he was.
I would recommend this book to any reader of any age. If you like to read stories about animals, or if you are interested in reading about people who are famous or semi-famous, or if you like books that are enjoyable yet easy to read through, then this book is for you! This might even be a great book to suggest to that person who isn’t very fond of reading, as the idea of a wild African lion living and working in Hollywood just might be enough to trigger their interest.