The Penguin Lessons

I’m back with my latest read! Book number 7 of 2019 was “The Penguin Lessons” by Tom Michell. I first became aware of this book around a year ago now when one of my friends was reading it. She was loving it and really recommended it. It then sat on my Amazon wishlist for a while until during the summer another friend was reading it and told me how great it was. I couldn’t resist it any longer and decided to pick it up!

‘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…

I absolutely ADORED this book. I read it in around 3 days. OK, it’s not that long a book but it is a great read. It’s also absolutely incredible to think that this was a real story. That Tom Michell rescued a penguin and cared for him alongside many of the people he met during his time in Argentina.

It was also amazing how a penguin could have such an effect on so many people. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m totally captivated by penguins too, but this was different… a complete change in someone.

I don’t really know what else to say about this book apart from it is a great east and heartwarming read which I think anyone who loves animals (and penguins) should pick up!

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The Cuckoo’s Calling

It’s time to share my latest read, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). I’m not going to lie, I was really really unsure about this book. It was February’s book club book and it isn’t my usual kind of genre to read. That said though I do enjoy crime shows like Silent Witness. Anyway, I picked this book up second hand as I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. But I absolutely LOVED it! I could hardly put the book down, especially toward the end.

In “The Cuckoo’s Calling” we join Cormoran Strike and his new assistant Robin as they attempt to solve the mystery of a young girl’s death.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

I absolutely loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. Although at times it did feel a bit long and there were various points/chapters which seemed a bit irrelevant. But in the end it was an enjoyable read. I also absolutely loved how Cormoran Strike isn’t your usual detective. JK Rowling does a great thing using a physically wounded war veteran as her main character in the story. I also really loved the character Robin. She was relatable and just as confused by Strike as everyone else to begin with, but over time she became a reliable assistant.

My one biggest peve of the book was the ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who is yet to read it but the ending was a bit abrupt and I felt like Strike came to conclusions about the ending without the story showing how he came to these conclusions. But still in the end it was a totally shocking ending which I didn’t see coming!

All in all I absolutely loved “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone (I even offered it to my dad). I really can’t wait to read the rest of the series now!

Have you read “The Cuckoo’s Calling”? If so, what did you think? If not, would you like to read it? 🙂