Review Blog

Jan 23 2020

Denali by Ben Moon

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Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9780143133612.
(Age: Adolescent - Adult) In an unexpected way, this true story lifts the reader into a realm where human and animal interaction creates a bond that is intensely supportive and loving. Denali is about the deep relationship between a dog and a human being. Its focus is both on Ben's inner and outer 'selves' in all their complexity, on his moods, desires and being, and intuiting the soul and mind of his beloved dog. The narrative reflects the intensely supportive and loving relationship that Ben builds with his dog.
In this intensely personal narrative, Ben takes us into his world, one that embraces fresh air, mountains, surfing and climbing, and includes, at the heart of his story, his beloved dog Denali. This is clearly a revelatory and honest self-portrait that remains true to its intention, woven around the relationship between human and dog. The story soars with the emotional support that each offers when the other is suffering. Throughout the narrative we are privileged to 'hear' what Denali is thinking, and those of us who believe in the emotional and mental intelligence of dogs can understand how comforting are the 'thoughts' that Ben intuits Denali as offering. We are invited to understand the fundamental principles of loving concern that Ben feels he is offered by Denali, and the deep concern that Ben offers Denali in return is evident throughout their lives together.
Ben Moon is a much respected professional photographer with an absorbing interest in the outdoors, in the earth's extraordinary structures, the mountains, the crags and the roiling seas. He surfs, climbs and scales sheer cliffs, his stunning professional photographs and stories supporting his lifestyle. Backed by the suppliers of the clothing and tools appropriate for his loved outdoor adventures, he makes short movies, writes up details of places, climbs and outdoor walks, and produces exceptional photographs of the mountains, cliffs, lakes and seas.
It would be most suitable, and indeed inspiring, for both adolescent and adult reading.
Elizabeth Bondar

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