I always find flaw with books I read, and especially the great ones that are well-wrought, I seem to find some niggling detail that I can't let go of. Frankly, I need to get over it, because I think One and Only deserves the hype. The world where other animals and humans cohabitate, or, rather, interact closely, is a difficult one, and the nuance of it is often overshadowed. Applegate has brought out wonderful and genuine, if somewhat slippery, sympathy for the captor of these animals, Mack. The period of introspection that Ivan finally allows himself with the introduction of the young elephant Ruby also shows us Mack's journey, if not as completely. Maybe I wasn't the only one who imagined Mack's financial hardship and his narrow future after the shuttering of his circus mall... Applegate manages to balance our cheers for the free as well as the weight money lays on the humans of her story. A theme she continued in Crenshaw...
I like how Applegate formatted this, rendering Ivan's thoughts poetically, suiting his artist's soul. His sparse sentences and short use of words underlines a point he makes early on, humans use too many words, far more than gorillas ever need to. The illustrations as well are beautiful and tender, furthering illuminating the glimpses of emotion.
It ends, of course, with a full look at the bright future of the animals, presumably to reassure and explain to precocious readers just how a captive gorilla becomes a natural leader of a pack. I thought the end lacked the emotional climax I would have wanted, but was by no means flat or unsatisfactory. I guess I just like things to end with something more...
But I'm probably just being picky here, too.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Read: 21.6.16 - 23.6.16