Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back // Book Review

Author: Shel Silverstein
Genre: Children’s Book
Year Published: 1963
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 112 pages

Shel Silverstein started my love of reading at the ripe young age of five. I’m not too cool to admit that sometimes when I have a bad day I turn to my good friend Where the Sidewalk Ends. So when my little sister bought me a Shel Silverstein book as a birthday present for my 21st birthday I was incredibly, nerdily excited.

This story follows a brave lion who comes to be known as Lafcadio. After eating a hunter and stealing his gun Lafcadio quickly becomes the sharpest shooter in all of Africa. When he gets recruited to join a circus, Lafcadio becomes wildly famous and rich. And in the process might just forget where he came from.

I absolutely love Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back. This quirky tale of self-discover disguised as a children’s book could teach people of all ages a lesson or two. As someone who is about to enter their (potential) last year of college and is trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing with my life, I found great comfort in Lafcadio’s journey. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from the lion who shot back.

Use your talents for good! When Lafcadio first starts shooting he uses it to protect his friends and family. But the aspect of endless marshmallow’s leads him down a road of riches. He gets lonely and bored very quickly.

Being rich and famous isn’t nearly as important as the people in your life. Lafcadio had it all. He had so much that he got bored with all his crazy adventures. He kept searching for bigger and better experiences that ultimately still left him feeling lonely. Even an unlimited supply of marshmallows couldn’t keep him happy.

Never forget where you came from. Lafcadio got so caught up with his fancy new life that he completely forgot where he came from. When he returns to Africa on a hunting trip he is struck by just how much he has changed. So much that he doesn’t know who he is anymore.

And most importantly:
It’s ok to not know where you’re going or what will happen: My favorite quote in this whole book was towards the end. “…he didn’t really know where he was going, but he did know he was going somewhere, because you really have to go somewhere, don’t you? And he didn’t really know what was going to happen to him, but he did know that something was going to happen, because something always does, doesn’t it?” This has seriously become my life motto. I don’t know where I am going in life and what I’m doing, but that’s ok because something will happen in my life! Thanks Lafcadio for validating my uncertainty.

Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back was a fantastic, quick read that both transported me back to my childhood and gave me some new perspective about my adult life. I would honestly recommend this book for readers of all ages.

Rating: 5 marshmallows out of 5

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