5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

It is only now that so many of us have lost that connection to the natural world we are starting to realise just how important it is. Time spent outdoors walking along a path, or sitting by the river recharges us in ways that we cannot comprehend, but have a deep need for.

But for some people that connection is much more vivid and real. Dara McAnulty is one of those people. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s and autism just over a decade ago and because he was so different to other children, was the victim of bullying at school. Getting out into the natural world was more than an escape from this torment, it became a life support system for him.

Lying below the oak, I can feel it surging below the ground, the roots curling around me, a restless energy feeding me strength.

It is this lifeline that he had from the world around him that gives him the energy to carry on fighting for the things he believes in. Moving home and school took him away from the places that he had grown to love, but this change became a positive one. He found new places to visit, like Murlough Beach where he could see seals, butterflies and hear the scream of gull and the song from the skylarks above the dunes. The new school is a positive too, rather than constantly being defensive and hating it, he is beginning to thrive.

Other changes were afoot too, he was becoming more involved in campaigning, heading to the UK to hand in a petition to the Prime Minister and was even asked to read a poem at the People’s Walk for Wildlife. His fury about the lack of action to protect wildlife and the natural world is starting to have an impact.

I must say that I really enjoyed this book. For someone so young, he has an amazing talent already as a writer. This diary format works real too, you sense the daily battle and the ebbs and flows he has with life in general. I think this comes from within, he is deeply passionate about this cause primarily because it sustains him. It is very evident from this book too that he has grasped from a young age the interconnectedness of all things. This is almost certainly connected to his autism, but I think that this is a strength rather than a weakness. McAnulty has a bright future in this world, troubled as it is at the moment. I think that he has the will to influence others to begin that change that the planet needs.

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