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We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed Their Lives Forever Paperback – November 22, 2011
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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The story is absolutely beautiful...great for all members of the family. It also invokes many different emotions and provides opportunity to have in depth discussions with the kiddos about several topics.
Great read...would highly recommend.
That being said, it's still a good read. Detailed are the specific struggles financially and with government authorities to make the zoo a viable working operation. Also, we see countless examples of Benjamin Mee learning the animal/zoo business through actual trials he and the zoo had to face. Moreover, he relays to the reader the human element of his wife's illness and the variety of characters who comprised the zoo personnel.
The entire book was repetitive situations with moving animals from the run down zoo to other zoos or from one enclosure to another....each time almost forcing a "code red" situation. Oh, and by the way, the main character's wife dies of a brain tumor in the middle of all of this. That's about as much attention as was paid to the wife's illness and passing in the book...as a sort of side note. In fact, the day she was laid to rest, her husband takes their youngest child to a park sort of to shake off all of what just happened. Later, during the zoos initial opening just months after her passing, he completely forgets he just lost his dead wife until a photographer takes photos of her photo and he has an almost, "oh that's right..." moment. Even the end of the story was predictable and anti-climactic since the entire book worked towards them getting their zoo license and opening on time without going into financial ruin.
For me, this book was similar to reading the diary of a teenaged girl...hundreds and hundreds of repetitive pages..."Woke up. Had breakfast. Went to school. Came home. Did homework. Homework was hard but I made it through. Took a shower. Went to bed."...and then an "ah ha" moment page or two of something fascinating like a new kid joining their school or the break up of a young couple or the captain of the football team passing her a note in class...and then right back to hundreds of pages of the mundane.
All in all, I was terribly disappointed in this book...12 hours or so that I will never get back.