Friday, April 3, 2015

A Lion Called Christian by John Rendall and Anthony Bourke.

Title- A Lion Called Christian.
Author- Anthony Bourke and John Rendall.
Publish date- 1971, 2009.
Publisher- Barton Press.


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Two men spending time in the UK go into Harrods department store one day and see a lion cub, and immediately they realise they want to buy it.

What I thought:
I vaguely knew the story of Christian the lion before I read this; I’d got the book from the library but ended up returning it unread for whatever reason, but I was mostly aware of the story, and I’d wanted to read it still.
Here’s what I knew-
Two young men in the UK bought a lion cub from Harrods department store, lived with it and then it got too big/unmanageable and they took it to Africa, where they went back a year later and it recognised them. Cue reunion music and tears.

Now I may sound bitter. I will try not to.
The fact is, I can’t get over how irresponsible the actions of the two men were! Animal trafficking is, of course, a horrible thing, and though in the revised edition they admit they weren’t really aware of it and wouldn’t want to keep it going, the fact they didn’t think or even really have more than a vague idea of what would happen when the lion got too big- because they knew they wouldn’t be able to keep it for very long, basically around a year- and the way they write about wanting to give it the best time it could have… felt somewhat disengenuine, to me. I saw two reckless young men who in turn saw a lion cub and decided to buy it, rather whim-esq.

Now I approve wholeheartedly of the choice they made, helped along by some more enlightened people, to try and get Christian back to Africa. This is where the story really took off for me. From the beginning it was interesting, but once they were in Africa and working to set Christian free, that’s where I truly started to enjoy it.

Rating: Poor/Hmm...
Frustrating and making me more than a little angry at the actions of people, this was still an interesting story and I’m glad I’ve read it and at least got a clearer idea of what happened.


  1. Oooh how interesting..I'm a little surprised that they bought the lion cub from Harrods though since it's such a high end shopping centre. I think they can be forgiven depending on how young they were when they made such a rash decision. In the end, I think they had genuinely good hearts albeit was very reckless. Lovely review Romi! xx

    1. It's interesting, isn't it? Harrods actually used to have a "zoo" shop, whereas now they've made it a pet shop. Lots of wealthy people could and would buy exotic animals from there. Nowdays that would be a totally unacceptable practice, with the changing times. xx

  2. I've always been more than a little horrified by the fact that they bought a LION CUB from a department store. That is all kinds of messed up, and being an animal activist, I could never ever imagine supporting such a thing.

    I can definitely understand why your enjoyment grew once they made the right decision to take Christian back to Africa where he belongs.

    I always think of that video where they come back and visit him, and Christian hugs them and licks them. I think it's 100% adorable, and I'm so glad Christian ended up living life as he was supposed to.

    1. It's incredibly bizarre, isn't it? I'm so glad that kind of high-rise animal trafficking is long gone, though there are still so many struggles to rid the world of the illegial trafficking. It's awful.

      It's really quite interesting, because I always thought it was their choice and idea, whereas it wasn't- not at all. They weren't sure what they'd do, once their first option, of a UK safari reserve type thing, fell through, and some well-meaning conservationists and animal lovers helped them find George Adams.

      I agree!


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