Friday, October 19, 2012

We Bought a Zoo - Benjamin Mee

Summary:  In the tradition of "Marley & Me" comes an unforgettable memoir about the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy in this chronicle of the Mee family's purchase of the Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. (Summary and book cover image courtesy of

My Review:  This movie made me cry, and usually when movies make me cry and they’re based on a book, I’m so overcome with anticipation of getting to the library and checking out the book that I can’t sleep. 

The book didn’t disappoint.  Benjamin Mee was a journalist (as he mentions every page or two … a DIY expert!  Get that?!  DIY!!  That got old.), so his writing style flowed well, was appropriately pithy and poignant, and made a good summertime read.  It made me want to get to a smaller zoo with my kids as soon as I can.

There were a few things, however, that induced some serious eye-rolling.  As I mentioned earlier, Mee is overly fond of reminding his reader that he was a journalist.  A DIY expert, actually, so clearly a few articles equates to master mason.  It got old, fast.  He also goes off on tangents, and as someone who wrote my fair share of lengthy research papers, some of his tangents honestly felt like he had done the research for an article that hadn’t been published, and dang it, he was going to get it out there, by hook or by crook!  My only other complaint was his fractured timeline.  His writing of losing his wife was so touching, so poignant, that I was completely confused to be reading a conversation between her and some friends a few chapters later.  Discontinuity like that wasn’t rampant, but frequent enough that I need to keep a sharp eye on the text.

Overall, this was a really nice read, and perhaps someday, I’ll be able to talk my husband into a visit to Dartmoor.  Even though it’s in England.

Rating:  Four stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  There are a few conversations with some pretty salty language, and some talk of heavy drinking.

Sum it Up:  This would make a great vacation or recovery read.

1 comment:

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

I love Zoo books -- think I will give this a try!


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