Saturday, March 31, 2012

We Bought a Zoo ~ Benjamin Mee review

We Bought a Zoo : The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever
Weinstein Books
September 9, 2008
261 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

We Bought a Zoo is Benjamin Mee's memoir of the time when his family, well, bought a zoo. The British family purchased the run-down (and shut down) Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon, moving from France and discovering just what all it takes to get a zoo back up and running. Mee's story was also the subject of the BBC2 documentary "Ben's Zoo" and now the feature film We Bought a Zoo.

Not just a book about the money and business matters it takes to try to reopen a zoo, We Bought a Zoo covers so much more. It's also about Mee's family - his relationship with his wife who is suffering from cancer, with his children, with his mother who has made the move with them - about the majestic animals who inhabit the park, and the personalities who come to work there.

I learned so, so much more about zoos and their inner workings than I likely ever would have without ever reading this book. About the different animals, their backgrounds, breeding, interactions, etc but also how the zoo and its staff has to work with them. It was incredibly fascinating. (There were a few things, of course, that I can't say I wouldn't have minded not learning - about feeding them, mostly.)

The premise of a family buying a zoo is immediately interesting and something I thought I would like to read about - and see a movie about - but I enjoyed it so much more than I thought. I never dreamed how much work would go into attempting to restore a zoo - both within Mee's family (I had no idea the personal things he was dealing with) and the professional struggles as well.

If you listen to the audio version of this (it is available), make sure you pick up the book at some point so that you can see the pictures of the animals it includes!

This book makes me wish I lived closer to a zoo - I definitely want to go to one now . . . I'll just hope I can see We Bought a Zoo soon.

Rating: 8/10

Have you seen We Bought a Zoo? It's out on Blu-ray/ DVD on the 3rd and after reading the book I"m anxious to see it, see how it's different/similar.

There's a Movie Companion Guide (PDF), too - created by Allied Faith & Family (neither the book or the movie is 'Christian' that's just how the Guide is looking at things/written).

1 comment:

  1. i have not yet seen the film or read the book
    hopefully soon
    grreat review


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