The One and Only Ivan – #AtoZChallenge 2019

If not for challenges, some books wouldn’t have been found. This is one book for which I can say that with a hundred percent certainty, because until I saw the book chosen by another reader in that challenge, I was unaware of its existence. When I read the blurb, I thought it would be interesting to read, and I wasn’t mistaken.

The One and Only Ivan is about an easy going gorilla by the name Ivan. Ivan is a silverback who has been in captivity in a mall. He’s used to that life by now, used to people who pay money to see him through the glass walls of his “domain”. He’s not the only animal at the mall though. There’s an elephant and a stray dog as well. But it’s a second elephant that comes later that changes his life.

Based on a real story…

When I took this book for reading, I didn’t know that it was based on a true story, that Ivan is real. I commend the author’s imagination, to spin a tale around his life with other fictional characters. It was beautiful to read. From Ivan’s point of view, to observe his domain and imagine it, it was poignant. I like the little girl Julia, who became a friend to Ivan, and her father, George, as well. There is kindness in both their characters. There is wisdom in Stella’s words, and even in Bob’s.

Ruby is my favorite character…

It’s the character of Ruby, the baby elephant, that changes the story. Like the author says, a silverback has the instinct to protect. That instinct was asleep in Ivan, never having had a family to protect for long. In Ruby, he finds that family. Through Ruby, the author also shows the cruelty animals go through while being trained, and that was heartbreaking to read. Thankfully, the ending wasn’t a bad one. It’s a book even children would love reading, and there’s a lot to learn in it.
The book is an emotional read no doubt, but it’s a book I recommend wholeheartedly.


This is the 10th year of the #AtoZChallenge and my tenth year attempting it. My theme this year is Books – Read and Loved. As evident by the theme, I am going to write on books I’ve read and loved.


Liked this? Read some of my earlier posts written about Books.


Vinay Leo R.
17. 04. 2019

Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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