We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee


Title: We Bought a Zoo
Author: Benjamin Mee
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: BBC, Book to Film, Memoirs, Nature
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2008


I bought this because I genuinely loved the movie, and I was intrigued when I found out that the true story movie was actually based on a book. It was good to see that, although starkly different from the movie, this was just as enjoyable. I actually found that once I dug into it, I really couldn’t put it down. Seriously fun and most definitely an enjoyable, thought-provoking journey that Benjamin Mee takes you on.

If you’ve seen the movie, there are some pretty stark differences to the movie (and I’d now be interested in seeing the BBC mini-series). For starters, buying the zoo and getting it up and running wasn’t just some hair-brained scheme from Benjamin, in fact it was the whole family. He is just featured so heavily because he was the journalist with a gift for writing. I love that it’s Benjamin, his sister and two of his three brothers who act in support of their mother in running this as a team. They all had their own roles and responsibilities, working as a seriously wonderful team.

I was also surprised that the children didn’t feature in this so strongly, rather they are kind of peripheral. You can tell from Benjamin’s writing that they feature heavily in his own thoughts and life. Particularly when he talks about the difficulties of having his wife pass, but they don’t feature in this memoir. I kind of respected and liked that. After all, it made it feel like his family life was actually quite private and separate from his publicity. And sharing this in a book removes that privacy.

Although this whole book is overall a chronological tale, each chapter does have it’s own theme. There’s some overlap between the timelines, but I really loved how it was separated. Each chapter gave you closure and acted as it’s own story in and of itself. It gave a story that I would have loved anyway a whole new level of cohesiveness. And I’ll definitely be reading this again, I just enjoyed it that much.

I loved this novel and look forward to reading it again. Not only was it a fascinating journey, but it was also well written. I also thoroughly enjoyed the insight it gave into the machinations of running a zoo. Whilst I knew that there was a lot to it, there were so many more intricacies that I was really surprised by.

<- Black SaturdayThe Beekeeper of Sinjar ->

Image source: Publishers Weekly


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