Recently, I finished reading The One and Only Ivan, a 320 page fantasy book by Katherine Applegate, an American young adult and children’s fiction writer. She was born on October 9, 1956.
Katherine Applegate published the One and Only Ivan on January 17, 2012. Just about a year after the book won the newbery award for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The One and Only Ivan is praised by children and adults alike for its amazing ability to hook the reader.
I chose this book because I wanted to get a taste of a different genre. Normally I only read realistic fiction because it is my favorite type of book. But since I’ve read The One and Only Ivan I’m starting to believe that fantasy is my new favorite. Honestly I think the book is a masterpiece! The story is written to make you connect with main characters and really feel what is going on. I would really enjoy to read this book to a family member.
Ivan a silverback gorilla, who lives in a small domain at the exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. According to Ivan, he has lived in captivity for 9855 days. Ivan is a pretty easy going gorilla, who eats bananas, watches TV, and draws pictures that are sold to visitors at the mall for $20 ($25 with a frame). Stella is an elephant that lives in a domain next to Ivan. Stella’s leg has an injury from many years ago. She had fallen while balancing on a stool for a circus act. Sometimes the leg gets infected and Stella gets very sick. Bob is a stray dog that lives in the mall. When Bob was a puppy Ivan took care of him. Because the mall is struggling to keep open, a new animal is introduced as a last resource to try and bring back the customers. She is a baby elephant by the name of Ruby. She is sent to live with Stella to learn tricks. When Stella’s old injury gets infected she becomes sick and passes away. But just before she dies Ivan promised he would take care of Ruby no matter what happens. Ivan has no idea how he will be able to take care of Ruby but a promise is a promise and to Ivan this one can’t be broken.
I was surprised when Stella died. In the beginning of the book it explains that Stella had fallen while balancing on a stool for an act. The fall gave her a bad leg injury that still can get infected. It seems as if the author was getting us ready for Stella to pass but it’s still came very unexpected.
I like the way the author included “memory moments” in the story. Around the middle of the book, for example, Ivan tells us about his past and how he got to the mall “I Used to Be Free I could roam where I pleased and I didn’t have walls that kept me in one place (p.153)”. These parts of the story are important because it shows us Ivan has gone through an immense amount of pain in his life and it shows how he was brought to the mall in the first place.
In a way, I can’t quite relate any other books that I have read to The One and Only Ivan because it uses a certain style of writing I haven’t seen before. I like that style and I hope I find another book that uses it. The novel has very short chapters. Each chapter is named after something that happened or something that Ivan finds important. Also the chapters are written in Ivan’s perspective not a humans or the authors. The story actually sounds like it is being narrated by a real life gorilla.
What I love about the story is that it really connects with its reader. The novel makes you walk a mile in Ivan’s shoes. The suspense keeps you at the edge of your seat until you finish the book. The One and Only Ivan is a book that I would read 10 times over. I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because it is one of my personal favorites. I encourage everyone to read this book. I am sure you will enjoy it. I look forward to reading The One and Only Ivan again.