My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The day I discover a new Micheal Morpurgo is a very happy day. He’s one of the authors who constantly amaze and inspire me.
Running Wild is the story of Will, caught up in terrifying events when a tsunami hits the village he and his mother have been staying. Will, who was having an elephant ride at the time, survives only because the elephant – Oona – senses the imminent tsunami and bolts into the forest. This is the story of how he survives.
Will is a lovely character though I did feel he came across distinctly older than he was meant to be at times. I felt there were a good few moments when we lost Will’s voice amidst the general narrative. However what I did believe was Will’s love for Oona and how the two of them build a relationship together that allows them to survive against the odds.
And that’s something Morpurgo is never afraid to do – write about love and how it can sustain us through the worst of times. Will manages to build himself a family in the forest, and through supporting that family – and loving them – he learns how to deal with his own immense loss.
Running Wild is a little heavy handed at times and slides somewhat lazily into an easy denouement. I won’t deny that the ending has a visceral emotional impact but what I will say is that the getting there suddenly felt very awkward and frankly left me skipping a few pages.
I genuinely enjoyed this book but I don’t think it’s amongst his best. Skip back to Waiting For Anya if you want to read one of his greatest.