Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

At the beginning of the narrative, Joy Adamson introduces herself as the English wife of a game warden responsible for a huge territory of untamed African wilderness. Joy recounts how George kills a dangerous lioness, unaware that she has three small cubs. Since abandoning them would mean their certain death, George brings the cubs home to raise them. The couple ultimately devises a bottle formula that the cubs can tolerate, and they grow normally.

The author introduces Pati, a rare African catlike creature called a rock hyrax, to which she is very attached. Pati develops an unexpectedly close relationship with the lion cubs, who soon greatly exceed her in size. Throughout these early months, Joy feels herself becoming most fond of the smallest and most tame of the cubs, which she names Elsa.

After six months of living in and around their home, the cubs have clearly grown too large to continue as house pets and arrangements are made for flying two of them to a European zoo; the third, Elsa, will be retained. In the absence of her siblings, Elsa seems to deepen her bond with the Adamsons and to fear separation from them. They take her with them on safari, recognizing that they have become, in her eyes, “her pride.” They give the young lioness every opportunity to make exploratory forays into the wild, by herself or accompanied by their Somali servant, Nuru. Elsa displays a remarkable sense of fun in her interactions with smaller animals and yet is...

(The entire section is 603 words.)