Book Review: The Horizontal Oak by Polly Pullar

The Horizontal Oak book by Polly Pullar standing against plant pots in a garden

Nature writer Polly Pullar needs no introduction to “Friend” readers. For over 30 years, her articles about wildlife, animal rescues, pets and rural living have been a hugely popular part of the magazine. We love to read her tales of nursing sick and injured animals back to health. All accompanied by her stunning photographs, of course!

Polly has written several books about her encounters with wildlife, most recently “A Scurry Of Squirrels”.

Her new book, however, is rather different.

“The Horizontal Oak” book review and synopsis

The Horizontal Oak“, published by Birlinn, is subtitled “A Life In Nature”. It’s Polly’s memoir of her own life and how nature has helped her cope through the darkest of times.

A seemingly idyllic childhood masked family secrets and devastating tragedy.

At times, it’s a heart-breaking read. But there is lots of joy here, too. Memories of Polly’s pet sheep Lulu, who went to school with her. And the guinea pig that travelled home on a flight from London with her, her beloved collie Kim, and so much more.

What shines through is Polly’s unswerving faith in the healing power of nature.

She finds solace in the natural world around her, and comfort in the many animal companions that come and go from her life.

Her love of nature gives her the strength to move on and build a successful career as a wildlife expert, journalist and photographer.

“The Horizontal Oak”, a life-affirming read

In my opinion, this is Polly’s finest book to date. It’s a beautifully written, lyrical and inspiring story, told with great honesty and compassion.

Ultimately, it’s a positive, life-affirming lesson in how to turn even the most difficult of times into a force for good.

And there’s a lovely selection of photographs in the centre of the book that is not to be missed.

“The Horizontal Oak” is out now in hardback, priced £16.99. I thoroughly recommend it!

Now read a review of “The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewell and “Songbirds” by Christy Lefteri. 

Angela Gilchrist

Angela is Former Editor-in-Chief of “The People’s Friend” magazine. Her passions include cats, Highland ponies, good books, vegetarian food and long walks in the Scottish countryside. Her favourite place to get away from it all is the magical Isle of Skye.