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March 4, 2024

Fox & I by Catherine Raven ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of memoir Fox & I by Catherine Raven
July 2021; Spiegel & Grau; 978-1954118003
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); memoir

Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait to get outside. I'm also looking forward to going to Naturalist Camp again this year. To help curb my craving for being in the natural world, I picked up Catherine Raven's memoir Fox & I from my TBR pile. It was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes her observations of the flora and fauna on her property in Montana reminded me of Aldo Leopold's essays. 

If I was a bit more carefree, I might have had a life more like Raven's. She lives largely in isolation (she teaches online classes and leads continuing education classes) and observes the world around her. I could identify with her relationship with the fox. While I've not had quite the extensive relationship with a wild animal, I did have a short relationship with a female cardinal. The bird was injured (or perhaps is was a defect) but I would watch for her to come to the feeder. She couldn't land on the feeder but when I saw her nearby I would rush out with seeds to spread on the ground for her. I talked with her when I would see her through my open kitchen window in the evenings on the back porch while I cleaned up the kitchen.

I really enjoyed Raven's observations about animal behavior and the ecosystem she found herself a part of. She is a wildlife biologist so she provided science background when necessary. I thought the story of how mange was introduced in the West was interesting and a little appalling. 

Reading this book did raise questions about our individual role in the ecosystem in which we live. I liked that she didn't shy away from the consequences of our land management decisions. So often we decide what plants we want or don't want in our landscape and where we want those plants and where we don't, but we rarely think about how those decisions will affect the insect and animal communities that share the space with us. 

I know that this is an older title, but it is a timeless story. Whether you can't wait to hike and explore this spring or just want an inspiring read, you should pick up this book.

Buy Fox & I at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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