The Elephants in My Backyard
In 2003, Rajiv Surendra was acting in Mean Girls, playing the beloved rapping mathlete Kevin Gnapoor, when a cameraman on set gave him a copy of Life of Pi, inadvertently changing the course of his life. Rajiv dove into the novel, mesmerized by all the similarities between Pi and himself — they are both five foot five, with coffee-coloured complexions; both share a South Indian culture; Pi lives in a zoo and Rajiv grew up in Scarborough, Ont., right beside the Toronto Zoo. When Rajiv learns that Life of Pi will be made into a major motion picture, he is convinced Pi is the role he is destined to play.
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Poignant, funny, colourful and absolutely unforgettable, The Elephants in My Backyard is an inspiring tale of taking risks and following one's dreams, of process and determination, and looking back on one's endeavours — be they successes or colossal defeats — with new appreciation and meaning. (From Random House Canada)
The Elephants in My Backyard was on the 2017 Canada Reads longlist.
Our house backed onto a huge valley that bordered the Toronto Zoo, and in the evenings I'd hear elephants, lions, and wolves through my bedroom window. I was twelve when I was overcome with need to play zookeeper myself and build a chicken coop in my backyard. My dad loved the idea, but there was much protesting from Ma. We already had a pet, she said, our little shih tzu named Meesha. Which I had to share with my sisters, I argued; I wanted chickens for myself. "They smell, child," Ma insisted impatiently, "and they make noise. And I doubt it very much that we are allowed to have chickens in the backyard."
From The Elephants in My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra ©2016. Published by Random House Canada.