Three Weeks in December - Audrey Schulman

 

                I love lions.  Big, beautiful killing machines that they are.  I wouldn’t want to meet one in dark alley.

                And I wouldn’t want to be in Africa, building a railroad, when the lions decide to eat people.

                This book is based, in part, on a true story about the lions that hunted the railroad builders in the 1880s.  The Tsvao lions, you can go to the Chicago Field Museum and see the stuffed bodies.

                Schulman’s book tells two stories that at first seem to have little in common.  One is about an American man who is hired by the rail company.  The second is about a young botanist with Asperser’s who travels to Africa to find a mysterious plant, and in doing so she joins a group studying Mountain Gorillas.

                The book is rather gripping and the narratives aren’t as dissimilar as they first would appear.  The characters are believably drawn and Schulman takes the time to allow the realness of the characters to be the connection to the reader as opposed to going overboard in making her characters likable.  This is important because it isn’t likability that keeps the reader reading, but the need to know what happens.