Book Review: Voices in the Ocean

I’ve always been drawn towards dolphins. It’s been a dream of mine to swim with dolphins in Hawaii for as long as I can remember, and in grade ten my teacher called me “dolphin girl” because I wrote a report based on The Cove, a documentary showcasing the horrible dolphin killings happening in Japan.

So it was no surprise to me that out of thousands of books in the store, this one spoke to me, the dolphin on the cover beckoning me to learn more about their species. I originally thought this book by journalist Susan Casey was a new age, self-help volume, but that was only one piece of the puzzle.

The book covers ground from Japan to Hawaii to the Solomon Islands, spanning a comprehensive overview of the world’s dolphins and the leading experts who study them. With clear, articulate writing in a journalistic style and vivid quotes, I often felt like I was reading a fictional novel, but the sad reality is that the horrible things happening to dolphins around the world are all too real.

While Casey does hash out the negatives like the hunts going on in Japan, captivity in North America and trading in Oceania, there are also so many beautiful things and interesting facts to be learned about these creatures. For example, did you know their brains are way bigger than ours, and they have sonar that’s stronger than any device or machine used in the navy? Also, dolphins are extremely emotional and loving towards one another, and they form strong bonds with each other that last a lifetime, even if they’ve been separated for years.

These are just a few of the juicy tidbits Casey shares in the book, but there are a ton more where that came from. By interviewing people who have literally devoted their entire lives to dolphins, she sheds light on just how special these creatures are, and what we can learn from them.

While reading this book, I felt like I was on a trip around the world, hopping from destination to destination and learning so much in the process. One of my favourite stops was in Greece, where on the island of Crete, the ancient Minoans had worshipped dolphins and painted them in their artwork and on their walls in beautiful frescoes.

This book was so interesting and I’m so glad I decided to follow my intuition and give it a go. There are so many things we can learn from dolphins and the ancient societies who were in on their secrets, and Casey’s clear writing style, (super) in-depth research, and commitment to telling a good story make it all so much more fascinating.

Have you read any good books lately? I’d love to hear some recommendations!

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