What Da Cover Says: Hailed a masterpiece when it was first published, the story of Gavin Maxwell’s life with otters on the remote west coast of Scotland remains one of the most lyrical, moving descriptions of a man’s relationship with the natural world.
What I Says: This is one of those tricky books to love in this world of political correctness gone mad, an Otter is a wild creature and should be left that way, ok if you rescue it but still it should be released. Gavin Maxwell was living in a different era, a time when you could buy a ring tailed lemur from Harrods for 75 quid. For him buying a baby otter and transporting it home, causing it a huge amount of stress was an obvious thing to do. What this book shows is just how much love he had for the otter and that it still had a full life in the wild…it just had somewhere cozy to come home to.
Gavin was not a people person, he was living in a remote, inaccessible, cottage where the nearest neighbours are far away. The beginning of the book describes in detail where he lives, the work to be done, the local wildlife and his wonderful dog. Once his dog has passed away Gavin struggles with the loneliness and while abroad gets his first otter. Eventually when he successfully gets an otter to the cottage, the book comes alive, Mij is a fantastic little character and his little “almost human” mannerisms make this book a joy to read. You can easily picture Mij splashing about in the bath, hunting for eels and using Gavin as a towel to dry himself. The bond between the two is incredible, the fact that they almost have a dialogue blows your mind, Mij getting Gavin to lift rocks that are too heavy was fantastic.
The book has it moments of great joy and also of great sorrow and you can’t help but get swept along with Mij’s life. It is a brilliant read that I recommend….would I want a pet otter? Nope, way too much maintenance….Would I wanna spend a day playing with one? Hell yeah!