Audiobook Review: The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

Audiobook Review: The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

Title: The Music of Dolphins
Author: Karen Hesse
Narrator: Michele McHall
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Duration: 2 hours, 49 minutes
Source: County of Los Angeles Overdrive
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

At the age of four, Mila fell rom a refugee craft and was lost in the ocean between Cuba and Florida. Until her rescue eight years later, she lived as a wild child of the sea. As Mila now learns to communicate and deal with the complexities of human feelings, she develops an understanding of a strange new world–and the human soul.

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Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

This one has been on my reading list for a while — after reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, I wanted to read more things by her. This basically follows Mila as she is rescued from the sea and acclimated to the human world after living with and being raised by dolphins for four years. I appreciated the audiobook version because it’s told in first person and Michele McHall beautifully captures the voice and essence of a girl who is just learning how to speak and use words. It’s a lovely experience that I would definitely recommend if you can get the audio version at some point.

The Music of Dolphins provides an interesting snapshot into what it would be like for a girl to go from living in the sea to living in the human world, with all that comes with it. What would it be like for a person to live in a building after spending her life living outside, in the ocean, and on the islands? What would it be like to learn human speech after learning how to communicate with dolphins? How would communications with humans go? All of these questions are explored through Mila’s interactions with her world and through her re-acclimatization process.

This is a slow-paced story that is mostly character driven, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s incredibly well-written and there are subtle changes in Mila from chapter to chapter as time passes and she becomes more used to living in the human world, for better or worse. Hesse is thorough in her treatment of this subject, and I like how she includes Mila’s confusion about why the government has so much say in her life and how Mila feels lonely, because while she’s given caregivers, she doesn’t really have a family and feels a lot of loneliness over that. This is a great book for kids to be able to think about what is normal to them that might be strange to others, and what is strange to them that might be normal to others.

The writing alone is enough to recommend this book, but it tells an enchanting story of what we’ve decided is meant by being human, and how that might look to others not used to it. I definitely recommend reading this if you haven’t already. It’s wonderful.

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