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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Mighty Mary by Max Davine is one of those stories that will bring tears to the eyes of readers and that powerfully illustrate man’s inhumanity to animals. It’s the story of Mary, a circus elephant, the star of the West. Captured during the British Raj era, she was trained and sent to America to become a spectacle. The five-ton Indian elephant could do a lot of things — play the trumpet and dance, and she brought immense joy and entertainment to viewers wherever she went. But in 1916, after a disastrous Wild West show in Erwin Tennessee, Mary suffers the most despicable acts of violence. In this novel, the author takes readers through the emotional and psychological suffering of an animal that is uprooted from her world and endures untold suffering.
Filled with emotion, this story allows readers a powerful connection with the unusual protagonist, a five-ton elephant. The author’s use of anthropomorphism is brilliant and skillful and it enables readers to feel what animals feel. From the opening pages, the reader is introduced to the world of the protagonist even before she is captured. The herd of elephants is moving away from predators. Readers get glimpses of the way they communicate with each other, their supportive culture, and the threats to their world. The language is exceptional, the prose crisp, and the entire narrative filled with wonderful imagery. It begins with the very first sentence of the narrative: “At first, there was only light and sound. Bright, dazzling yellow that shone through the formless void of darkness and a cacophony of tuneless, unintelligible noise that frightened and confused her.” In Mighty Mary, the author explores the last days of an abused animal and touches the emotional center of the reader in a way that is powerful and unique. This author makes the reader look at animals differently, and there is no doubt that this novel involved tremendous research.