The cheeky title of Melissa Haynes's story of adventure in Africa, Learning to Play with a Lion's Testicles, earned the book some big publicity on NBC-TV/Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on September 4,2013 where it topped the show's list of "Titles Not to Read" for September 2013. Melissa's book was also a big smash on the March 11, 2014 Ellen Show, where Ellen and guest Ricky Gervais highlighted the book throughout the entire hour.
Playing with a lion’s testicles: An African saying that means to take foolhardy chances.
For the reader who has ever dreamed of going to Africa or knows the pain of loss and guilt, Learning to Play with a Lion's Testicles will fill your soul.
Melissa, an exhausted executive from the city seeks meaning and purpose from her work volunteers for a Big Five conservation project in South Africa. Her boss, an over-zealous ranger, nicknamed the Drill Sergeant, has no patience for city folk, especially if they're women. He tries to send her packing on day one, but Melissa stands her ground with grit and determination, however shaky it may be.
Conflict soon sets the pace with a cast filled with predatory cats and violent elephants, an on-going battle of wits with the Drill Sergeant. Even Mother Nature pounds the reserve with the worst storm in a century. But the most enduring and profound conflict is the internal battle going on within Melissa, as she tries to come to terms with the guilt surrounding her mother's death. When death grips the game reserve, it is the very animals Melissa has come to save that end up saving her.
1. One Night at the Ritz, 1
2. Mud Bath, 12
3. Getting Acquainted, 18
4. Sentenced, 30
5. Committed, 35
6. Think Tank, 40
7. Circle of Life, 48
8. Feeding the Cats, 53
9. Terror at the Ritz, 59
10. Chopping Down Barriers, 66
11. Revenge of an Elephant, 77
12. Deciphering the Local Dialect, 82
13. The Wake of the Storm, 87
14. How to Ruin a Crocodile’s Day, 98
15. Tree Planting, 106
16. A Dual Between Logic and Fear, 115
17. Bribery in the Bush, 118
18. Holding on to Letting Go, 121
19. Mending Fences, 127
20. Birth of an Understanding, 133
21. One Victory, 138
22. The Chase, 144
23. Rumble With the Rhinos, 152
24. Running With Bulls, 158
25. Khaki Fever, 162
26. Peace Treaty, 170
27. A Demon is Exposed, 176
28. A Demon is Slaughtered, 179
29. Finding Inyanga, Finding Freedom, 182
30. Hope, 191
31. Super Predators, 193
32. Farewell, 204
Author’s Note, 211