Fox & I by Catherine Raven

I’ll never forget my interactions with the wildlife at my old house in the mountains. I had squirrels walk up to me at my back door feeding out of my hands and black bears walk around my porch close enough for me to touch. While many people thought I was crazy for interacting so closely with them, it’s something I will never forget. This book brought me right back to those moments.

Thank you Spiegel & Grau for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: 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. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as a ranger in National Parks, at times living in her run-down car (which lacked a reverse gear), on abandoned construction sites, or camping on a piece of land in Montana she bought from a colleague. She managed to put herself through college and then graduate school, eventually earning a Ph.D. in biology. Yet she never felt at home with people, and though she worked at various universities and taught field classes in the National Parks, she built a house on a remote plot of land in Montana and, except when teaching, spoke to no one. One day, she realized that the fox who had been appearing at her house was coming by every day at 4:15. He became a regular visitor, who eventually sat near her as she read to him from The Little Prince or Dr. Seuss. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself—and he became her friend. But friends cannot always save each other from the unconstrained forces of nature. Though this is a story of survival, it is also a poignant and dramatic tale of living in the wilderness and coping with inevitable loss. This uplifting fable-like true story about the friendship of a woman and a wild fox not only reveals the power of friendship and our interconnection with the natural world but is an original, imaginative, and beautiful work that introduces a stunning new voice. 

What a beautiful memoir! It truly was a captivating story about human interactions with wildlife and the similarities and differences between the two. Catherine’s writing style is different than what I would normally read – a bit all over the place, but is still very poetic and tells a poignant tale. This book has a special place in my heart as I am a biologist by trade, but may not be someone’s cup of tea if animals just aren’t your thing.

4/5 Stars

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