Synopses & Reviews
When photographer and writer Shreve Stockton decided to move back to her beloved New York from San Francisco, she decided to take her time and make the trip on her Vespa. When she reached Wyoming, Shreve was captivated by the red dirt, the Bighorn Mountains, and the wide-open spaces. Unable to shake the spell of the cowboy state, she soon found herself trading her New York City apartment for a house in Ten Sleep, Wyoming -- population 300.
Shreve threw away her cell phone and took to the rules of the land, adjusting to a lifestyle that was a near antithesis to that of the urban jungle. Time is of a different essence, nature is both livelihood and enemy, deer and coyote mark the dawn and dusk. After she met a local cowboy by chance on the side of the road, first a friendship and then a romance blossomed between them.
When Shreve was unexpectedly presented with a ten-day-old coyote pup whose parents had been shot for killing sheep, she had a choice to make. Despite her reservations and the terror of her tomcat Eli, Shreve decided to do the unthinkable -- to raise the coyote pup she came to call Charlie in her 12 12-foot log cabin.
In arresting prose and illuminated with Shreve's breathtaking photography, The Daily Coyote is at once Shreve's month-by-month exploration of Charlie's first year and a meditation on the nature of wildness versus domestication, of nature versus nurture, and of forgiveness, loyalty, and love in all its forms.
In arresting prose and illuminated with Shreve's breathtaking photography, "The Daily Coyote" is at once Shreve's month-by-month exploration of her coyote pup's first year and a meditation on the nature of wildness versus domestication, and of love in all its forms.
and#8226; A fascinating true tale: When city girl Shreve Stockton set out to ride her Vespa from San Francisco to New York, she never imagined sheand#8217;d end up staying in Wyoming, falling in love with a trapper, and working as a ranch hand. Nor could she have forseen meeting Charlie, the orphaned coyote pup who made Stocktonand#8217;s log cabin his home. In a world where coyotes are hunted as killers, Stockton and Charlie faced challengesand#8212;as well as joysand#8212;throughout their first year, each of which came with revelations about life, love, and the bond between humans and nature. .andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8226; Based on an award-winning blog: andlt;Iandgt;The Daily Coyoteandlt;/Iandgt; was inspired by Stocktonand#8217;s blog of the same name. Wildly popular and hailed by Rosie Oand#8217;Donnell, andlt;Iandgt;Vanity Fairandlt;/Iandgt; , and the andlt;Iandgt;L.A. Timesandlt;/Iandgt; , the site receives over a million hits per month and was the winner of the 2007 Weblog of the Year Award only a month after its inception. .andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8226; A moving visual memoir: Stockton documents Charlieand#8217;s first year in stunning full-color photography. Each monthand#8217;s entry is accompanied by rich images of Charlie as he grows from adorable pup to wily adult, alongside Stocktonand#8217;s tomcat, Eli, and set against the wide-open landscapes of Wyoming. .
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Shreve Stocktonandlt;/bandgt; is a writer and photographer currently living in Wyoming. She received her bachelor's degree in photography in 2001 from Brooks Institute of Photography. She is the author of a cookbook, andlt;Iandgt;Eating Gluten Freeandlt;/iandgt;, and of two weblogs, Vespa Vagabond and The Daily Coyote.
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Shreve Stockton. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
On a cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York City, Shreve Stockton falls in love with the beauty and desolation of the Wyoming landscape. After a week of confusion and sadness in New York City, the promise of Wyoming beckons to Shreve, so she rents a house in the small town of Ten Sleep and settles into her new life. She meets and begins a relationship with Mike, a local trapper who gives her a baby coyote that changes her life.
In The Daily Coyote, Shreve details her evolving romance with the coyote, nature, and Wyoming. Readers will delight in the insight, reverence, and joy Stockton uncovers in this surprisingly riveting page turner. With her honest and reflective voice, Stockton invites us to reconsider our own relationships with nature, speaking to the wildness within our individual hearts.
Questions for Discussion
1. What does Shreve mean when she says "animals kept me accountable in a way that was all too easy to skirt when living alone or interacting only with people"? Provide specific examples of the ways that animals keep her accountable. Why do you believe animals rather than people have that power over Shreve?
2. Shreve's beliefs about death differ markedly from Mike's and impact how they each approach life and its challenges. Explain the differences you perceive. Is one of their approaches comparable to your own? Why?
3. Why do you believe that people subscribed to "The Daily Coyote"? What did Shreve learn about these subscribers when Charlie became ill? How do their feelings about Charlie contrast with Shreve's own recognition of his value to her? Would you subscribe to The Daily Coyote? Why or why not?
4. Describe Charlie's development under Shreve's care. How do his developmental milestones both parallel and challenge Shreve's personal struggles with freedom and safety? How does Shreve's understanding and appreciation of the costs of freedom evolve over the course of the book?
5. Identify the contradictions inherent in Mike's life as a coyote hunter and a hunting guide. Why is he increasingly disillusioned by the hunters he takes on hunting trips? What do you think Shreve's dichotomy of urban versus rural living reveals about Mike's struggles? Do you agree with Shreve's conclusions about urban and rural living? Why or why not?
6. Shreve initially believes she has found a breakthrough in countering Charlie's increasing aggression towards her. What does she believe underlies Charlie's progression from affection to anger? What lessons does she believe she needs to learn in order to make Charlie's life and her own life better? Is she successful? Why or why not?
7. How do you feel about Shreve adopting and raising a wild animal? What might you have done differently?
8. "Risking discipleship" is one of the quotes that Shreve notices on the church's reader-board in her drive from town. What do you think this quote means? How does it relate to Shreve's own struggle to deal with her sudden notoriety? What do you believe are the risks and benefits of her online exposure?
9. Shreve finally turns a corner with Charlie's aggression when she becomes an "energetic alpha" for Charlie. Describe what she means by this term and how it impacts her overall approach to living her life. Do you agree with her rationale for why she was able to affect change in Charlie? Why or why not?
10. According to Shreve, there are "gifts of the dead" that can help humans become stronger. What do you believe are the gifts left by Tracy for Mike? Have you received your own 'gifts of the dead'? If yes, what are they? If no, why not?
11. Consider the relationship between Eli and Charlie. How does it evolve as the story progresses? How does Shreve's relationship with each of them differ? What does the evolution of their relationships reveal about nature and our potential place in it?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Read the following quote from Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet:
"For a long while I have believed...that in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as "natural" a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity. And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers' seal of approval. But the truth leaks out in our dreams...: alone in our beds (because we are alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee."
Why do you believe that quote resonates with Shreve? Do you agree with Rushdie that these feelings of not belonging are as natural as feelings of belonging? Why or why not? Do you ever have occasion to feel that sense of not belonging? If yes, identify when and under what circumstances. If no, why have those feelings escaped you? Would Shreve concur with this sentiment at the end of her story? Why or why not?
2. Consult the www.dailycoyote.net. Join the mailing list for your book club and receive daily pictures while you read the book. When you meet with members of your group, discuss the following questions:
How does it feel to be a part of this online community? Why do you believe that members have gravitated towards this community? Has your understanding of Charlie and Shreve's relationship been enhanced by these daily emails? If yes, why? If no, why not? Have you been able to apply any of the lessons and insights Shreve has shared with you in your own life? If yes, explain. What do you believe is the value of developing a relationship with an animal typically considered to be a predator?