‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time.’
Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin. Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school.
Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other… The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe – for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.
Watch for my review later in November, 2015.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE PENGUIN LESSONS BY TOM MICHELL
Tom Michell grew up in southern England and wanted to travel. In his 20’s, he went to teach at a boys boarding school in Argentina so that he could make money and travel. This was at a time when Argentina’s dollar value fluctuated widely from day to day. He was given an advance of 1 million pesos and told to spend it all on anything he think he might need right away. Otherwise it wouldn’t buy as much the next day.
When the school was on breaks he got to travel. He went to Uruguay for a few days and he discovered many penguins by the sea all covered in oil and dead. However, there was one penguin that was moving and he decided to rescue him. He took the penguin to the place he was staying and cleaned him up in the bathtub. He tried to bring him back to the sea where there wasn’t noticeable oil but the penguin followed him.
He figured that the penguin’s feathers were no longer waterproof and felt there was no alternative but to smuggle him across the border to Argentina and bring him back to the school with him. He named the penguin Juan Salvador and everyone love him.
Tom Michell shares many of the stories and escapades that ensued while Juan Salvador was with him. He also shared his travels and the turbulent times in Argentina. This is a tender hearted memoir with lots of laughs and, yes, some tears. The writing is lyrical and the book was near impossible to put down. It is a very fast read and enjoyable read. I adored this book and highly recommend it!
I received the ebook for my honest review.
There is are only 2 days left to enter my giveaway of one print copy of Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell. Enter here: http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/2015/11/giveaway-the-penguin-lessons-by-tom-michell.html#.Vkro8XarS70
ABOUT TOM MICHELL
Tom Michell was born and grew up on the rural downs of southern England, where he grew to love animals, birds and plants. After living in Argentina he returned home and settled in Cornwall where he helps with the family business, tends a small plot of what he calls ‘good Cornish soil’ and sings with a local choir. He is an amateur artist and in his spare time he draws and paints subjects from the wildlife around his home, specialising in birds of prey. Tom is an enthusiastic proponent of understanding how humans can live in genuinely sustainable ways. He is married with four children and three grandchildren.