You Bought It, You Read It: Modoc


There I am.  Bawling my eyes out through the last twenty pages of Modoc.  My Rudolph red nose.  My soaked eyelashes.  My hair sticking to my wet cheeks.

Which brings up the question: WHY…. Why do I read animal books?  That’s all I do is wail like a baby the whole time.  The Art of Racing In The Rain?  Sobbed.  A Dog’s Purpose … Wept.  Life of Pi ?  Vociferated through probably forty percent of that book.  If the ship-sinking chapter got you in Life of Pi, just you wait for the depression you will feel in Modoc.

I should have known this book would make me cry.  I told myself though, you don’t have any personal experience with elephants.  This will be an emotional breeze!



Modoc:  The True Story of The Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer

The Overview:

Spanning seven decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again; through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.

*Crying again*

My Review:

*Returns from retrieving a box of Kleenexes* 

As an animal lover, this book pulls at all the right heart strings.  Bram and Modoc are born on the same day on a farm that trains elephants for the circus.  It’s hard to deny destiny like that.  At any of their separations, the emotions are enough to compete with Sara McLachlan’s SPCA commercials.  At times, you are sure you have seen the end of this relationship between boy and elephant.  The only reassurance you have is there is still over a hundred pages left.  Enters the last thirty pages and you will start to doubt there is a god.

I loved this book.  It’s claim of being a true story has be challenged by many reviewers.  If you are one of those people who get all huffy with a little fictional liberty, then this book may not be for you.  Sure, I could do my fact checking and see.  I’d rather not.  To me Modoc is real, and that’s that.

Next book on YBI, YRI:  My God’s Mercy, Now That I Think About It by Lillie V Apiyo


8 thoughts on “You Bought It, You Read It: Modoc

  1. I’m gonna need to check out this book and be sure that I have enough tissues! 😉 sounds like a very moving book. I’m an animal lover too!

    1. Lots of tissues, Jenny! I don’t know what happened as I crossed over into my thirties. I was at once one bad ass chick. Now those Advantix commercials with the cute little singing lab puppy make me cry. Let me know what you think if you read it 🙂

  2. I used to work at a place during the summers that had a couple of elephants that put on a nice show. I’d have to go into their stalls to grab some things every morning and one of the two elephants and I would shoot the breeze a little bit each morning. They are pretty amazing animals. I may have to check this book out.

    1. I’m officially jealous of you!

      I feel like elephants are one of those animals that can express themselves easily to humans. From what I’ve read/heard, you really feel like they are taking in the conversation when you talk to them.

  3. Dear Melanie,
    This weekend I just finished this book. I was such an emotional mess. I demanded to know more about this amazing Mosie. After a quick google search, I found your page! I am torn between keeping this book because I loved the story so much, or passing it to a friend. The love story will stay in my heart for a long time.

    1. It’s always a comfort to hear someone else as a wreck! My beau can always tell when I’m reading an animal book . Suddenly there is a tissue shortage in this house!

      I gave mine to my mother. I think she is still putting it off because she knows her reaction will be the same as mine!

      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

  4. I am an animal lover and so I can’t watch anything with animals being badly injured, abused, or sad stories even when they turn out good in the end. I just handle the in between stuff. Anyway…was drawn to read this book. I cried through most of the book and many pages I skipped over only wanting to read the better parts. My family scolded me for reading true animal stories knowing my tender heart for them, but as I said I was drawn to read it and I am glad I did. A wonderful story about an amazing animal God created and some really wonderful people.

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