The weather in Chicago has returned to its pattern of bouncing all over the place, which means I am having a bit of a rough week. I’m achy and tired and having a hard time focusing. I’m anxious about some things that are kind of out of my control at this point.

But there have still been some happy things. Chiefly among them? This book:

American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

Back in February, our friend K came to visit one weekend. We ended up going to a new-to-us bookstore, and I was not going to buy anything (heaven knows I have enough books). But then I passed this book on a shelf, and I picked it up and read the foreword, and I was hooked.

Y’all. This book. It’s so good. Its premise is based on a real thing that almost happened in US history – evidently, importing hippopotami into the States to be ranched in Louisiana bayous was a proposed solution to a meat shortage in the country in the early 20th century. So this is hippo-riding cowboys, which is a delightful premise all on its own.

But the book is so much more than that. The cast is diverse across genders, races, and body types. No one really makes a big deal out of any of it, but there’s so much representation packed into the two novellas and two short stories packed into this book. I was sad to finish it, because I wanted to keep hanging out with these incredible (and incredibly flawed) humans. If you’re looking for a fun, quick read, I’d recommend picking this up!

The author, Sarah Gailey, has a new book coming out the day after my birthday, which I am excited about. I thoroughly enjoyed their writing style in American Hippo, and I expect I’ll enjoy whatever they’ve got coming next.

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