The Lost Whale: The True Story of an Orca Named Luna
By: Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisholm
“If Luna couldn’t have L Pod, she thought, at least he had iPod.”
**Spoiler Free** Review:
Only read this book if you really want more stories of Luna, and even then there is plenty you can skim over or just completely skip. Luna’s story is precious and heartbreaking. There was 6 years of Luna the orca interacting with people due to being separated from his pod, so there are plenty of stories and interactions to share. This book absolutely gives you that, as well as some great photos of Luna. However, the anti-indigenous statements, the unnecessary personal anecdotes, and just overall completely lost tone of this journalist-written novel make a good percentage of it not worth the time. If you want more stories of Luna, get this book from the library, and skim it for only the part about Luna, the rest you absolutely do not need.
Full Review *Spoilers*
Every moment with Luna in this book was precious and getting to learn more about him is always appreciated. However, there is no way you can read this book and look past the negative language used towards the First Nations people, or the complete lack or responsibility the author takes. There is zero discussion about the lack of action for Luna and the issues that surround how much certain people were interacting with him. The only blame that is ever cast is towards the First Nations people when the authors say “There was still bad feeling across the lines created by the First Nations’ resistance.” They even go so far as to call themselves and a few other select people “friends” of Luna, conveniently leaving out any First Nations people. Which means they see all their time spent with Luna as a non-issue, and not at all the reason he was so interested in boats and people which got him killed. They also don’t see the First Nations people as having a respectful relationship with Luna because they didn’t spend as much time with him, which is the big issue in the first place. Just the mental gymnastics this journalist does IN A BOOK in order to avoid ever admitting to doing something wrong is completely wild the more I think about it. Even going so far as to bring in the slow loss of his dad to alheimers to get some sympathy. Yes, that is absolutely awful and it is always heartbreaking when that happens. It just didn’t belong in this book, especially as the tone was trying to be “journalistic”. It was very obviously an attempt to have the audience on his side.
As I was getting to the end of the book I couldn’t believe Luna’s death hadn’t been discussed yet. The fact that it was only in the epilogue and less than three pages is such a disservice to Luna and his memory. There should have been an entire section on what could have been done differently. A discussion of how bad their communication was, and how it lead to tensions between everyone involved, and how that ultimately killed Luna. There should have been thoughts from other people on what went wrong and how things can be handled better in the future. Luna will not be the last orca to get separated from its family and failing to properly provide people with proper information on what to do fails them and Luna.
I will say I am thankful to have gotten a few more stories about Luna that I hadn’t seen before and to look at some photos that are not readily available online. However, I cannot excuse the many issues with this book and will not be recommending it to anyone. I am currently searching for better Luna resources and when I find them they will be linked below.