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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

We Bought a Zoo

We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Weinstein Books; (September 9, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1602860483

(background Tigers are from Shambala Preserve that I took many years ago)

From Booklist

When writer Mee’s father died, his mother needed to sell the house and move to a smaller place—so the entire family decided to buy a zoo. Mee’s sister had seen an advertisement for the sale of the Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a small zoo in Devonshire in the southwest of England. After a long series of negotiations, licensing snafus, and the inevitable family conflicts, the author, his mother, and his brother moved into the park’s rundown house and started running a zoo. Though they owned the grounds and its 200 animals outright, they still had to pay 20 staff members, feed the animals, and upgrade the grounds. During the first week, a jaguar escaped, and the author and his brother began to realize what they’d gotten themselves into. Through eradicating the plague of rats, clearing out years of rubbish to reveal usable buildings, and battling with banks for operating expenses, the author and his staff gradually pulled the zoo back from the brink of closure. The emotional appeal of the zoo’s rescue is wonderfully limned in Mee’s practical, good-humored prose.

I have to admit that I got this book for two reasons.  One is was on a super sale and the other because I read the review and knew this true story took place near where Cath (Read-Warbler) lives, and I thought I might learn more of that area.. all that and I love animals so I figured it was a win-win for me.

So.. the book is not what I call a page turner.  But it is a true account of a family that buys a run down zoo and restores it to life.

Along the way life is happening and Benjamin's beautiful wife  is treated for cancer and eventually dies.   This too was part of his story to tell. 

I felt Benjamin left out much he could have told of his children, but then the focus was to be on the Zoo, but having his wife die was too big to ignore so it had to go in the book. 

The "remaking" of the zoo was filmed and eventually made into a TV series called Ben's Zoo and helped launch the zoo to prosperity.

It is probably, a typical life.  There's adventurous things and sadness and hope and following a dream.  But still it was not a page turner. It did not have me rushing to pick it up each time I sat down, but when I did pick it up I was right into it and enjoyed it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Cath said...

That's it - Ben's Zoo. I couldn't think of the title of the series as we didn't see all of it, just bits. Glad you found it pretty interesting. Perhaps P and I will search the zoo out in the summer.

6:52 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The description of the book was so interesting---how sad that the book doesn't live up to what it could have been. I know you volunteered at Shambala and that is such an inspiring place as is Tippi and all the people who work there---This Nook about the run-down Zoo, could have been, too, I guess, if the writer had been a better story teller....Too bad.
Maybe the TV Series is better.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I can't imagine buying a zoo! Even though it wasn't a page turner I'd be very curious to know how they came to own the zoo and what went into running it.

2:40 PM  

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