ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this rapturous memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her liberating journey in the Amazon jungle and falling in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.
Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.
They weren’t alone, not with over a hundred quirky animals to care for, each lost and hurt in its own way: a pair of suicidal, bra-stealing monkeys, a frustrated parrot desperate to fly, and a pig with a wicked sense of humor. The humans, too, were cause for laughter and tears. There were animal whisperers, committed staff, wildly devoted volunteers, handsome heartbreakers, and a machete-wielding prom queen who carried Laura through. Most of all, there were the jungle—lyrical and alive—and Wayra, who would ultimately teach Laura so much about love, healing, and the person she was capable of becoming.
Set against a turbulent and poignant backdrop of deforestation, the illegal pet trade, and forest fires, The Puma Years explores what happens when two desperate creatures in need of rescue find one another.
This was an outstanding book. The likes of which I’ve never read before. It is a memoir, but much more than just than that. It tells the story of Laura, who tiring of mundane jobs decides to backpack in Bolivia. Whilst there she comes across a flier that tells her about a wildlife park looking for volunteers and decides to give it s go. Another way to fill in a few weeks.
This is where the story really takes off and Laura finds herself having to put up with hardships and learning to care for wild animals. Not only wild but damaged in someway. A book that you learn along with Laura as she faces not only her fears but the fears of the animals she is caring for and trying to understand how they feel. Laura finds herself caring for a puma named Wyra. It is a tale of caution and learning to trust one another.
A book that teaches you as you read. It tells the story of hardships, Forest fires, the illegal animal trade. It tell a tale that makes you angry, sad and despairing of the effect mankind is having on the environment and the natural world.
A tale of Laura, the natural world and maybe all is not lost and we can change the path we seem set upon.
The writing is of an exceptional quality with not a wasted word and is all tied up in a bundle of food for thought. Highly recommended! (
‘m a writer, activist and artist. My pronouns are she/her.
My first book, THE PUMA YEARS, will be published 1st June 2021 by Little A. Proceeds from this book are going to support Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) in Bolivia: https://www.intiwarayassi.org
In 2007 I went to Bolivia, and started volunteering with CIWY, an NGO that manages three wildlife sanctuaries and gives homes to animals rescued from illegal wildlife trafficking. It was this work, the communities and the stories that I found there, that, in 2012, inspired me to start the UK-based charity ONCA: https://onca.org.uk Panthera onca means jaguar. Bridging social and environmental justice issues with creativity, ONCA promotes positive change by facilitating inclusive spaces for creative learning, artist support, story-sharing and community solidarity.
In 2018, I moved to the Isle of Eigg in Scotland with my friend and companion, a dog called Nelo. It was here that I decided to write about my experiences in Bolivia, namely about how a small, desperate puma named Wayra changed my life. This became THE PUMA YEARS.
I live and write by the sea, and I am represented by Rocking Chair Books: