Of Time and Turtles: Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

Mariner. Sept. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780358458180. $28.99. NAT HIST
National Book Award finalist and noted naturalist/conservationist Montgomery (The Hawk’s Way) muses that people would do well to slow down to “turtle time.” To show the benefits of doing that, this book explores the world of turtles, their lives, habits, and behaviors, and their souls, all of which the author says are every bit as complex as those of humans. Also noted is the deep angst and heartbreak that comes from witnessing the cruelty that people can inflict upon other creatures. The author takes readers through her recent personal experiences with the inner workings of the Turtle Rescue League in Southbridge, MA, which rehabilitates injured turtles and either releases them or finds good homes for them. Through Montgomery’s perceptions of the organization’s people and their work, the book showcases the pure joy that can come from helping and saving these animals and the sadness that stems from their sicknesses and mortality. Acclaimed wildlife artist Peterson’s illustrations deepen this work’s effectiveness.
VERDICT This book expertly demonstrates the advantage that the slowed-down lives of turtles can have on humans. Fans of Montgomery’s previous works will love this, and so will nature enthusiasts and environmentalists.
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