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Mighty Mary

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  18 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Mary was a circus elephant. The Star of the West. She could dance, play the trumpet and pleased crowds wherever she went.

In 1916, after a disastrous Wild West show in Erwin Tennessee, acts against Mary the five-ton Indian elephant would go down in history as one of the most disturbing bizarre cases of animal cruelty the world has ever seen.

But, Mary had a life before the c
Paperback, 450 pages
Published December 5th 2018 by Tamarind Hill Press
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Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Max Davine is a masterful storyteller; this book keeps you captivated until the heart-wrenching end.
This is the story of Mighty Mary, an elephant, who in infancy is ruthlessly taken from her world and raised in America to become one of the most celebrated circus performers.

This reminds me of Ernest Thompson Seton’s wildlife animal stories. We can look at the world through the animal’s eyes and understanding that they are not at all that different from us – they also have feelings and emotions,
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most poignant and eloquent reads I have had in long time . The way in which the author has captured the voice and imagination of a baby elephant calf , and brought in to life in the human mind is absolutely amazing. I felt every emotion , every heart break and every triumph. Mighty Mary is a book that will stay with me forever. Thankyou Max Davine for giving one of our most beautiful and intelligent, yet most mistreated and disrespected wild animals, such a strong and powerful voice. ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story has captured my heart, with Max’s beautiful writing allowing the story to be told the way it should be told. It is a difficult thing to give a voice to an animal, something that Max has absolutely nailed here with respect, poignance and deep understanding of the injustices that we as humans watch happen every day to these special creatures. An incredibly important story told with grace.
Amanda Jarrad
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting and heartbreaking piece of history, and this enthralling story was the perfect way to read about it for the first time. From the first page, I was drawn in by the captivating voice of the elephant calf and couldn’t stop reading. There was a strong sense of place with vivid settings from the Indian jungle where Mary was born to the atmosphere of the travelling circus in the early 20th century. I loved the way the story was told through her eyes and felt for her deeply. Mary’s ...more
Susan Reynolds
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Max gives Mary a voice which resounds in your heart long after you've finished the story. Extremely poignant in our time where disregard for these beautiful creatures and the planet should jog us to think of our eventual demise along with theirs. ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an eye opening book that shows what animals truly go through when they are taken from the wild and put in shows and circuses. I found that I will never be able to look at any of those sorts of circuses the same way again. The author did a great job in balancing both fact and fiction in this book.
InD'tale Magazine

“Mighty Mary” is an eloquently written story about an innocent animal taken from her home and mother, bringing a voice to an otherwise voiceless elephant.

Read full review in the 2019 March issue of InD'tale Magazine.

Heidi Slowinski
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mighty Mary is the story of an Indian elephant who was captured and transported to American to be trained as a performer. After disaster struck in Erwin, Tennessee, just after the turn of the century, her case would become one of the most famous surrounding animal cruelty.

This story is the emotional depiction of Mary's life as a member of her mother's herd, her eventual capture and transport. Mary's story is one of love and loss, told in an engaging detail. Mary is an empathetic and captivating
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary's story is amazing - part harrowing, part delightful. As an animal rights activist, this was one of the more daunting reads I've done, and I loved it. Max Davine has created a collection of amazing characters to bring Mary's life to the page. And he's done a brilliant job of making the reader feel as one with this amazing circus elephant. It touches on aspect of humanity that are so relevant today, despite it being set around the turn of the last century. I couldn't put this book down and h ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is very rare that a book can give me joy and let me experience profound sadness at the same time. Mighty Mary did just that. Max gave a voice to an elephant who experienced all sorts of emotions normally associated with human beings and it was great. She experienced joy, pain and even disappointment, leading right up to her execution. It was great work and should maybe shown on television.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Max Davine is, no doubts, one of the finest Australian writers of today. His book “Mighty Mary” is powerfully written, mastering the words in such a way that a reader feels every sorrow, pain, joy, desire, struggle of at first a free and protected by her herd baby and soon an alert, observant, intuitive, grown into a 5 tonne elephant, called Mary. Based on the historical event of 1916, the story takes us through Mary’s experience of life and understanding the world with humans in it. She quickly ...more
A herd of elephants roams peacefully around India in the late 1800's under the watchful eye of their matriarch. The matriarch recently gave birth and her baby watches mom carefully as she makes friends, plays and watches for predators. As the herd migrates, they notice that the funny apes keep getting closer to them and are building structures and making lots of noise. One day while the matriarch is protecting the herd from a tiger the pale apes intervene, killing the tiger and the matriarch. He ...more
Natasha Lukin
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One needs to have a wider view of the world and its inhabitants in order to be able to write such a touching story about the life of the elephant in captivity as Max Davine has done. The elephant, Mighty Mary, used to live in the wild. So, she knew the difference. She was born free and in her early childhood she lived a life of enjoinment and fun. Then she was brough to the US and was raised as a circus animal.
Mary was a magnificent performer, but was it what she would really care about? The au
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At a point I forgot that Mary is an elephant in this book because as the title has said “Mighty Mary” she is actually mighty in this book. She could dance, play the trummpet and pleased the crowds wherever she went. I felt so bad when she was captured and going through physical and emotional trauma. This book is a must read for all animal lovers and it will captivate any mother. Animals want to protect their little ones just like we do. Heartbreaking but worth the read.
Amber Hawke
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Might Mary was a well written book that was filled with an emotional roller coaster of a story. The book really highlighted several things wrong with how the entertainment industry treats and handles animals. The book may have made me sad, but I'm glad I read it. ...more
Melissa Cheresnick
rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2019
rated it really liked it
Aug 03, 2019
Jeanette Russell
I really was thoroughly entertained by reading this novel. It was so skillfully and proficiently written, I felt. During the story I got so captivated by Mary herself, as well as, by her plight, and journey. The book had me very keen to discover more, about this elephants life.
Covered was cruelty that she had to endure at the hands of humans, which is something I feel so strongly about. Humans exploiting animals for their own entertainment and gain. Homo sapiens also exploited each other, but c
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Max Davine
Dec 03, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
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Max Davine is the author of six novels and holds a Master of Writing and Literature. His most recent book, Mighty Mary, received a Gold Global eBook Award and an honorable mention at the New York Book Festival. He studied at the Melbourne Actor’s Lab and has also written for the stage and screen. He currently lives in Melbourne where he volunteers at the Fire Brigade and Coast Guard.


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