What an exciting year 2016 is for the National Parks Service for they will be celebrating their 100th anniversary on August 25. For 100 years, many, many people have given their services to protect wildlife and to protect the people who interact with it. Employees who have worked or who currently work for the National Parks Service have many incredible stories to share and some have shared these stories through memoirs. One chief wildlife ranger who worked for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kim DeLozier, wanted to share his many stories. With the help of Wall Street Journal bestselling memoirist and biographer Carolyn Jourdan, readers can now enjoy the stories and experiences DeLozier accumulated over 30 years of his career in his Amazon self-published memoir Bear in the Back Seat: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger.
The stories DeLozier shares with his readers are truly amazing, capturing the attention of anyone who picks up his memoir. It is a quick read and each of his stories only ranges a few pages a piece, making it the perfect read for the rushing people on the go. However, Bear in the Back Seat is not a story that can be skimmed. There is so much information that lies within this less than 200 page book and the content of each story ranges from humorous to serious to informative to just plain bizarre. Sounds intriguing already, doesn’t it? There truly is no rhyme or reason to the order DeLozier shares his stories; however, this random setup does not make it confusing for readers to follow at all. Rather than a step-by-step walkthrough of his career as a wildlife ranger, DeLozier shares various stories from moments and experiences he remembers most vividly, mentioning briefly at the beginning of each story at what point of his career he was during that story’s time.
What brings DeLozier’s experiences to life is Jourdan’s uniquely witty writing style. Jourdan is known for her humor and wisdom and she does an excellent job of capturing the readers’ attention and making them want to keep turning pages rather than stopping after a story is finished. Not to mention, Jourdan worked at Great Smoky Mountains National Park for seven years and can easily relate to what DeLozier encountered during his career. The combination of various stories makes the readers experience many different emotions. Some stories are laugh-out-loud funny (such as a black bear being called a raccoon and creating a flamethrower using the spray of a skunk and a small fire), some stories teach lessons (the lesson DeLozier stresses the most throughout the memoir is: DON’T FEED THE BEARS), and there are even a few stories that are heart-wrenching (having to euthanize animals and even losing a hiker due to a bear attack).
Through the good-feel and heart-wrenching stories shared, what is refreshing for readers to experience is the fact that DeLozier remained passionate about his work throughout his entire career working as a wildlife ranger and still remains passionate about wildlife even after retiring. Working so closely with many different types of wild animals, DeLozier gained a deeper connection with nature and a newfound respect for its inhabitants through his work. He could not have picked a better writer than Jourdan to bring his stories to life through the written word. Upon completion of DeLozier’s memoir, many readers will want to read more of DeLozier’s career. Never fear, for Jourdan wrote a second volume of even more stories DeLozier wanted to share and is currently working on a third volume to be released soon. Bear in the Back Seat will provide a quick, entertaining, and informative read for the on-the-go and the slow-and-steady reader, an excellent book to pick up in celebration of the National Parks Service 100th anniversary.