Saturday, 5 October 2013

Brief Book Review: We Bought a Zoo

I finally finished We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee. Finally being the key word because I think I started it in May. Every time I say the title of this book I always think of how the little girl says it in the movie.

This is the movie covered book that I own
This is the original cover that I wish I owned

In the market for a house and an adventure, Benjamin Mee moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. His friends and colleagues thought he was crazy.

But in 2006, Mee and his wife with their two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety Alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man, but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who has devised a long term escape plan and implemented it.

Nothing was easy, given the family's lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy. We Bought a Zoo is a profoundly moving portrait of an unforgettable family living in the most extraordinary circumstances.

I'm not really sure what took me so long to read this book as I did enjoy it. I think part of it was that I just haven't wanted to read much lately, part was that it was non fiction, and part was that I kept comparing it to the movie. Apparently I compare either way, watching or reading first.

Wow, ok so apparently this blog post is taking me almost as long to write as it did to read the book. Pretty sure I finished it around mid-September and it is now the beginning of October. I suck.

There was a fair amount of in depth information about the animals and running the zoo that I found a little boring, and I felt like there were a few parts that just seemed to ramble on. I'm sure there are some people who would find all the information interesting, I was not one of them. I did, however, learn a fun fact that peacocks are the pretty coloured ones and the peahens (females) are more of a boring brown colour.

I did find myself actually laughing out loud at some points, one of which was talking about otters and ferrets. The kids apparently loved the otters, which apparently make "ridiculous squeaky toy noises" and the ferrets, Fidget and Wiggle (I'm serious, those are the names), with their "dinky little ferret harnesses". Benjamin also has a bit of a confrontation with a porcupine, "I stood up and laughed with new esteem for this pint-sized animal pincushion. I had been totally trounced by what is technically an elaborate rodent. Mr. Porcupine, one; Mr. Zoo Director, nil. Respect."

All in all I did enjoy this book, as tough as it was with comparing it to the movie. It was pretty cool to read about the Mee family's adventures with the zoo. And I apologize for this being a crappy review. Since it's been so long since I read it I kind of forget what happens.

Now that I've finished the book and the review, I can re watch the movie. Every time I wanted to watch a movie I would look at it on my shelf but knew it would confuse me even more.

If this post did nothing to make you want to read the book, at the very least watch the movie. It's a great story with an awesome cast. And usually I'm the one saying "the book was better"...

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I loved that you included the quotes and funny bits. Also, I think ferrets are always hilarious. And should always have hilarious names! One of the vet's assistants at my vet had ferrets named Hagrid and Sprout! Also: We bought a zooooooooooooooo!