Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story” as Want to Read:
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,723 ratings  ·  625 reviews
Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other bab ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Love, Life, and Elephants, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Vickie I've read Moduc. Absolutley loved it. It is a book I won't part with. …moreI've read Moduc. Absolutley loved it. It is a book I won't part with. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,723 ratings  ·  625 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Bionic Jean
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bionic Jean by: Chrissie
For over 25 years, Daphne and David Sheldrick worked together to nurture orphans of various different wild species, and release them back into the wild. Concentrating on elephants and rhinos, they also rescued buffaloes, zebra, eland, kudu, impala, warthogs and many other smaller animals. After David’s death Daphne famously founded the Tsavo National Park, now a huge area spreading over 8,000 square miles. Species are protected by law here, and the work to rescue individuals and species and figh ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daphne Sheldrick's passion 'and' compassion for LOVE....LIFE....and ELEPHANTS is energizing. In this memoir, Daphne' teaches us about love. She teaches us about life. And she certainly teaches us about elephants. She's kinda an expert! Ah...
If you think... I'm saying she is kinda an expert on elephants... ( Yes.. Highly trained and skilled
as she raised orphaned elephants and reintegrated them into the wild), but
Daphne is also 'kinda' an expert on love and life as well.

In the area of love...
Martin Rowe
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I have visited and given money to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and so should you. Daphne Sheldrick has made a major contribution to wildlife conservation and her work is to be applauded. Her memoir is a somewhat conventional "Out of Africa" story: hardy pioneers, gauzy sunsets, magnificent vistas, and lots of lots of stories about the animals who have come her way. She was obviously deeply in love with David, and yet he strangely remains a somewhat remote character. He is defi ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
This was a truly delightful and enlightening book about the plight of the elephants, the dedication of Daphne and David Sheldrick to the wildlife of Africa, and the landscape of Kenya. I found it to be very inspirational - living out your dream and being able to actually devote and immerse yourself in work that you find truly rewarding – how wonderful is that?!. More than just a memoir of Dame Daphne's life in Africa, Love, Life, and Elephants is also a lovely tribute to the memory of Daphne's s ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm going to be real, I gave up on this book after dragging myself through 11 hours of the 14 hour long audiobook. My breaking point came when - shocker! - the millionth animal under Daphne's care dies. I love animals, and I want to love people's heart-warming stories of living with animals. I like the idea of these stories. I like my own life, lived with two cats. I worked at the Humane Society and fell under the spell of fluffy unfortunates on the daily. But here's the deal, I can't get throug ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I am continuing to read this book only because Of its window into Kenya of the 50s and because I love books about nature- however- I am praying this woman comes to her senses in some of her views on big game hunting and colonialism. To wit: despite the fact that her British family decided to take up Kenya's offer of land and move into masai tribal lands she is astounded at the Mau Mau anti colonial guerilla war- different tribes but you get the point. She sees her family as benign colonists. Als ...more
I have assorted thoughts on this book. First of all the language is detached, polite, oh so proper British English, quite different from how Americans express themselves. The "Britishness" is reflected not only in word pronunciation but also in the choice of words, the views presented and the life style of the family, of clear colonial stock. I am listening to the audiobook and the narration by Virginia McKenna emphasizes this. It kind of bugs me a bit. Maybe the "Britishness" of the narration p ...more
Book Concierge
Digital audiobook narrated by Virginia McKenna

Subtitle: An African Love Story

From the book jacket: Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain dea
I just adored this book. It is an autobiography telling the story of an African-born British woman--how her family came to Kenya, describing how it was growing up there, meeting her first love, then later falling deeply in love with her soulmate. It is also the story of how Sheldrick, as the wife of a game warden, began to raise orphan wildlife to give them a second chance at life. She worked with many elephant calves and became an expert on how to raise them, given their surprisingly delicate n ...more
I've always had an affinity for elephants so this book grabbed me from the title and didn't let go.

Daphne Sheldrick's name should be better known to those of us who love animals and wildlife and want to protect it, treasure it, and stop any more from becoming extinct. However, I had never heard of her.

Daphne's family went to Africa in the 1820's, having migrated from Scotland. Why do I say her name should be better known? She is the first person to have hand raised newborn elephants successfully
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-ish
The Boston Globe warns readers they might be tempted after the last page to sell their possessions and join the author's cause.

They are right.

This book packs a wallop. It is the story of a woman born and raised in Africa. Who eventually finds herself madly and deeply in love with a man who shares her passions. Together, they rally to create sanctuaries for a once abundant and replete wildlife. All of it against the backdrop of a heartbreaking and incredible fight for the preservation and protect
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I think the world would be a poorer place if it lacked Dame Daphne, David Sheldrick, and those that have worked with and been inspired by them. I believe the Sheldricks, via Daphne's writing as well as in their actions for wildlife welfare, have provided ample proof of the richness of life that comes with finding one's passion and committing entirely to it; that a life of such passion for a just cause is filled with ripples that flow out from a central inspiration and have far-reaching effects. ...more
Dov Zeller
I read this a few years ago and thought I'd written a review. Apparently I did not. I remember enjoying it a lot and finding it intriguing and informative. I also recall being a bit uncomfortable at times with her attitude toward non-white people of Africa, and worrying over questions and histories of colonialism. I am going to have to look around and see if I can find more specific notes I'd taken on the book. Or, at some point, perhaps I'll get it out of the library again so I can write a prop ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I took this book from the library expecting that it would give me the same kind of pleasure as YouTube videos of unlikely animal friends and also probably get me more riled up about hunting, which is something I'm probably already sufficiently riled up about. But I was not expecting just how much this book would offend me.

Before I start in on why this book offended me, I want to first say this about Daphne Sheldrick. She's an elderly woman, 81 at the time of this review, and it's amazing she wro
This was a combination biography/memoir, as Dame Daphne starts by describing her family's settlement in Kenya and her years growing up and falling in love with nature and animals. Her love of the physical landscape and Kenya's flora and fauna shine throughout the book, and of course the strongest parts are where she discusses her work with orphaned elephants, dikdiks, civets, Cape buffalos, zebras, and all manner of other creatures. The animal stories are funny and touching. The details of poach ...more
Feb 08, 2017 is currently reading it
Shelves: favorites
I love watching human nursed wild baby animals & ocean life documentaries on youtube. Just this morning youtube suggested me to watch the short documentary "Faces of Africa - Walking with Elephants", there I heard the name of David Sheldric Wildlife Trust in Kenya for the first time, also about Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldric for the first time. She wrote an autobiography, I learned that at afternoon. Those storytelling short video clips about the trust and orphaned baby elephants are too heartwarming ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely stunning and so inspiring! Daphne is such a hardworking and resilient woman who has done such wonderful things with her life. I have always loved elephants for the gentle and intelligent creatures they are and this book showed me how emotive and loyal they are. It’s beautifully written and the passion for Kenya and all the orphans leap of the page 💗
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a contemporary of Shedrick(just two years apart) also working on a family history, it is interesting to see how she managed her writing. Daphne did exactly what she set out to do- tell the story of her loves, life and elephants as she lived it. She divorced in a time before it was normal and remained friends with her ex-husband. She took hardship that included hours of no sleep to care for animals, and months of living "camp style" as an opportunity to love her husband, the animals she came a ...more
This is an inspirational book for anyone interested in rescuing animals. It's also an interesting (if not a bit scattered) history of the decimation of the animal population in Kenya and other parts of Africa. There are some emotional parts that could have been much more emotional if Sheldrick had not kept such a "distanced" tone to her narrative. Not detached, just "distanced," which is understandable considering all the emotional pain she has experienced throughout the years.
I've read other r
Sandy Seppala
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sandy by: Read review in NYTimes and People
Since I served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and visited the Sheldrick Orphan Project when I visited Kenya in 1991, I was most interested to read this book. I was not disappointed. I thought the book was excellent and that would be of interest to anyone.

The book is a memoir recounting Dame Daphne's life in Kenya, her marriage to David Sheldrick and how that changed her life, and, most importantly, her love of and commitment to the wildlife of Kenya. She became the first person to be able to raise
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the animals and I felt touched by this account of Daphne Sheldrick’s remarkable life and her accomplishments. Her love of Africa, her family, and the animals were fascinating and engaging. Despite the title, it wasn’t just elephants. For being a memoir/autobiography, it was very well written. I’m grateful for that.

The first part was about the author growing up and her family structure. The story covered why they traveled to Africa to live. This part felt a li
Mark Tilbury
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daphne and David Sheldrick devoted themselves to the care of wild elephants in Kenya for over 25 years. This book tells of how Daphne and David met, how Daphne become immersed in David's work, and how after David's death, Daphne continues to work to save the lives of wild elephants.

This book took me to Africa. The descriptions of the surroundings, animals and their behaviours made me feel like I was there watching everything as it happened.

The battles against the ivory trade were (and still are)
Claire Meirowitz
This is the best preservation-of-nature book I've read since "Gorillas in the Mist" many years ago. In fact, I was so emotionally involved in Daphne Sheldrick's wonderful prose that I read portions of this book out loud to my husband. I heartily recommend it to anyone who cares about animals and worries about what happens to them. The author's anecdotes about rearing orphaned elephants, antelope, rhinos and more are both heartwarming and, often, heartbreaking. Please join me in loving and apprec ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was amazing to learn about the animals of Africa. They all are capable of emotions and have personalities similar to humans. They love, they cry, they hug, they express great joy and great sorrow, and they remember, especially elephants. With all the delightful animal AND people stories in this book, it also contains heartbreaking stories of the incredible, heartless destruction of thousands of animals for financial gain. This was hard to take. But there is so much beauty a ...more
This one is painful to read. I can only imagine how painful it would be to live it. Very graphic descriptions of elephants and other Africa animals being killed for ivory, testicles, gall bladders and other black trade animal products. Dame Daphne and her family take in the orphans and try to raise them to adulthood so they can be returned to the wild. We get her personal story and the story of the animals.
Donna Kubiak
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I seldom give a book five stars so this means I truly loved the book! I loved reading about all the animals and their efforts to keep them alive. I felt like I Was there with Daphne. I admired her spunk and her way of life, but I wouldn't want to do what she did in those dark days of Kenya. I was so sad when the book unusual for me! Of course, I imagine I loved it even more because I am going to Africa soon and I love elephants and the wild animals of Africa. ...more
Bonnie Brody
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Dame Daphne Sheldrick writes with a sure hand about her pioneering ancestors and family who farm in Kenya. Dame Daphne is instrumental in the environmental movement there and writes about her love of animals, her part in opening the Tsavo Park, and the memories she has of her life and loves in Africa.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW what a wonderful and heartbreaking book. I wish I had heard / read this book years before.
Anyone who loves Africa, who believes in Conservation and knows that there is a way to bring wildlife and humanity to live peacefully and productivly side by side MUST read this book. There truely is hope for the planet.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Took me a very long time to finish this book and several times I nearly gave up. The content should be compelling, but the writing is not. The book really seems to suffer from an identity crisis. Is it a memoir or an autobiography? Is it a love story or is it an animal story? In fact, it tries to be everything and inevitably is not successful at anything.

Daphne has obviously done some amazing work throughout her lifetime and had a very exciting life and I imagine meeting her would be a very int
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
With the aid of this book, I have traveled to Kenya and to South Africa. As an American, I hear of the horrors of Apartheid. I have no doubt that Apartheid officially happened and likely still unofficially happens. I just did not see any horrorific treatment here in Sheldrick's experience. I did see mutual respect. I see that a small group of Kenyan workers wanted to work for Dame Daphne Sheldrick's father, at his farm located within the Great Rift and later at the place where Great Britain sent ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Elephant Dawn: The Inspirational Story of Thirteen Years Living with Elephants in the African Wilderness
  • The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures
  • An Elephant in My Kitchen
  • The Elephant Whisperer
  • The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa's Wildlife
  • I Dreamed of Africa
  • Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo
  • Don't Look Behind You! A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos
  • Torn Trousers: A True Story of Courage and Adventure: How A Couple Sacrificed Everything To Escape to Paradise
  • Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
  • Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds (Story of Elsa, #1)
  • Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family
  • The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
  • Cry of the Kalahari
  • Secrets of the Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries of Elephants and People
  • Msomi and Me
  • Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
  • The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author, conservationist, and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild. From 1955 to 1976, Sheldrick was co-warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

Sheldrick has been named as one of the 35 most significant conservationists ever. She has won the BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has an Honorary Doc

Related Articles

Nature, in Her infinite awesomeness, can provide solace even when you’re stuck in the house. As a matter of fact, the numbers suggest that...
123 likes · 19 comments
“Life is for the living, not the dead, who belong to the past and are at peace and beyond all further pain and suffering 'somewhere in the great somewhere” 15 likes
“The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.’ – Mahatma Gandhi” 4 likes
More quotes…