by Mary Losure
a piece of history we should all try to know better and understand
This book tells the incredible story of this historical boy – why was he there, how could he survive, what did he wish? Reading Mary Losure’s, Wild Boy – the Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron helped me answer these questions and then think of more. The book is incredibly well researched (look here) and beautifully written to tell the story of a life. Where gaps exist in the record, Mary Losure does a masterful job of putting the pieces together so readers have a complete understanding of what this wild boy must have seen and felt during his exposure to the civilized world. One he must surely have been cast aside from.
As you read you have to wonder about what people and life was like at the turn of the 18th century. Curious, fearful, scientific, superstitious – whatever combination was held, the wild boy was captured repeatedly and watched. He was transported halfway across the country of France in the name of science. But it was through this name, that his humanity was oft times forgotten. (It does seem that we tend to destroy a lot of things in this name.)
As the story unfolds we are able to see Victor grow and change. We are able to learn as he learns. We are able to see how he is seen and treated over the course of his lifetime. And, if we choose, we are able to look inside and ask ourselves what is kind and just. Do we take the time to accept and understand the differences in people around each day? Do we take time to appreciate our gifts – the warmth of the sun, the cool of the breeze, the music of rain? Sometimes this book is troubling and sad.
After dinner, both boys and girls were let out to play in separate parts of the garden. When he saw the other children the wild boy ran and hid.
Sometimes he crouched in the Institute’s attic behind a pile of old building materials.
But when rain pattered on the roof and everyone else went inside, the wild boy often crept into the garden, to the tiny, formal reflecting pond that sat among the flower beds. He would circle the pond several times, then sit by it’s edge and rock himself back and forth as the rain dimpled the surface of the pond. He’d gaze into the water, toss in a handful of dead leaves, and watch them drift.
But it is also full of hope, endurance, friendship and care. This book immerses you in the growing story of Victor’s life as he changes from boy to man. Though he find a place, he is always kept on the outside, and never fully recognized as human by society.
That was then, but this is now. Could this story happen today? Wild Boy – the Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron will make you question just how civilized our world really is. Have we changed? When you consider the contemporary story, The Dogs in Winter by Bobbie Pyron you’ll have to say, “no” or “not much.” Mary Losure does a wonderful job sharing and highlighting the incredible strength of human spirit and the importance fleeting glimmers of kindness have in a person’s life.
Read Wild Boy – the Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron and wonder.