Monday, January 16, 2012

We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee

We Bought a Zoo is about an English family that pools their money to buy a struggling zoo under threat of being closed. Once the family bought the zoo, I enjoyed this book a great deal. However, it was very slow starting. The opening chapter deals with life in France, as the author's wife is diagnosed with a brain tumor. I'm sure it was very important to the author to include this, but it would have served the book better if it had been covered later in the book as a look back. It dragged the book down and made me reluctant to continue.

The Movie Club is going to see the movie version of this book on January 17. I like to read the book in advance whenever possible, so I forged ahead. The pace picked up considerably at Chapter 3. The anecdotes about getting the zoo ready to reopen were entertaining. There were a couple of instances where the author said something like "but more on that later" but then never returned to the subject, so far as I could tell. I sometimes felt like I was reading an abridged copy of the book. I don't know if editors took something out without realizing there were earlier references, or if the author did get back to the topics but not in an obvious way that I picked up on, but these occurrences niggled at me.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dartmoor Zoological Park, We Bought a Zoo is worth reading. (From what I've seen in the movie trailers, it's going to be quite different from the book.)

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