The Penguin Lessons Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Hardcover, Deckle Edge
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable, audiobook edition of The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell, read by Bill Nighy.
'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 20's: 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. <\p>
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.
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 2 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||November 05 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #68,696 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#160 in Educator Biographies (Books)
#258 in Travel Writing & Commentary
#828 in Biographies of Professionals & Academics
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The story is quite slight and for me the highly anthropomorhised bird is rather dull after the initial rescue, and rather confected tale of getting the animal through customs on the journey from Uruguay to Argentina. I presume the author was of an age (as I am) where the late Johnny Morris did his array of animal conversations whilst doing the rounds working at Bristol Zoo. Seems dated and somehow inapproriate, especially as the penguin's rescue and fate has obvious animal wellfare ramifications, not appreciated in an earlier era.
Would have been better for me if it had been a short magazine article rather than a novella.
The Penguin Lessons is definitely one of those cases where the truth is stranger than fiction as Tom Michell invites readers to go on a journey with him to the South America of his youth, back in the 1970s. The story of himself and Juan Salvador is absolutely beautifully and charmingly written with the characters of both man and penguin, as well as the other people who populate the narrative, just jumping off the page. I loved the way that Mr Michell interpreted looks from Juan Salvador and wrote conversational exchanges between the penguin and his human friends. I came away from the book feeling like I’d actually known – and loved – this penguin myself.
As well as telling the story of Juan Salvador, the author also paints beautiful pictures of the scenery, wildlife, and daily life in Argentina and other areas of South America at that time. It presents a unique snapshot of a unique time and place. And using his artistic skills, he also leaves readers with an illustration of his penguin friend at the end of every chapter, complete with a caption relevant to the incidents recounted.
I can highly recommend this tender, charming, and heartfelt little book. I came away with my heart feeling warmed. Juan Salvador is still touching people’s lives all these years later.