As a general rule, I do not read or review books that fall under the category of non-fiction. When I was approached by to review Blood Ties – A Memoir Of Hawks And Fatherhood, I was going to decline. The press release however really caught my eye. Normally, I look at what the book contains (I did that too) but this time, it was the author Ben Crane that caught my attention. That and the fact that the book was a narration about the connections that he made with hawks and how it helped him connect with his son. In short, the book was all about his life and while it wasn’t fiction, the story intrigued me.
MEET BEN CRANE
Meet Ben Crane the author of Blood Ties.
The books we write are often a portal into our very selves. This true when the books delve into the fictional realm. When you talk about your own life, you talk about your vulnerabilities more than you realize. When I said that Ben Crane intrigued me it was because the press release stated that he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and as a nurse that really caught my attention. Reading a book written by a person who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome would give me a glimpse into their world. Like many of you may know, people with Asperger’s syndrome struggle with social interactions. Ben Crane takes us through the journey of how hawks and falconry helped him with this struggle.
I really did not know what to expect from Blood Ties when I started reading. It was in my mail when I reached back from Sri Lanka and it provided a lovely break between my incessant typing at the laptop and the monotony of life. Ben Crane has an elegant style of writing. At first, I assumed that falconry was a rather complex topic to understand. He breaks the whole concept down into little snippets which are comprehendible by the lay person.
One of the misconceptions that I had about falconry was that it is a rather inhumane sport. Ben Crane goes on to explain that there were times (and he states those) when he thought the same. He then goes on to talk about how his misconceptions were cleared. Very much in tune, the falcon and the human form a connection that takes a long while to establish. The art of which has been handed down from generation to generation over thousands of years. This teaching process can be seen as Ben narrates tales of how a father takes his young son’s hand and teaches him to trap a hawk and when he narrates how entire communities join in a hunt.
As a traveller, I believe that Blood ties will serve to encourage people with Asperger’s syndrome to travel. Ben Crane’s love for falconry helped him to push his limits and connect with people who weren’t just around him but far away from him. These communications pushed him to travel to learn more about hawks, eagles and falcons. From Pakistan to America, from Austria to Croatia, Ben slowly made his journey across the world, discovering not just himself but the fact that falconry was an art that united people despite their cultural and geographical differences.
In my opinion Blood ties by Ben Crane is a great book for people who find themselves in tune with nature. It is an inspiring tale of how a man with Asperger’s syndrome finds it within himself to push his boundaries and connect with man and beast.