Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Zoo Where You're Fed to God” as Want to Read:
The Zoo Where You're Fed to God
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Zoo Where You're Fed to God

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The acclaimed screenwriter of Echo Park offers a riveting novel of a man's descent into madness. After a painful divorce, Michael Ventura finds himself at the zoo--hearing voices and seeing into the souls of animals. Through the love of an extraordinary woman, he slowly begins to reconnect with himself and his past.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Simon & Schuster
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Zoo Where You're Fed to God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Zoo Where You're Fed to God

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 340)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
i was just reading my delight of a book, readers' advisory service in the public library, and the chapter i was reading was the one on "appeal". basically, appeal is how you describe a book to a patron based on its salient elements: pacing, characterization, story line, frame/tone, and style. the idea is that by using these descriptive elements, we can recommend any book to any person, whether we have read the book or not, whether we know anything about the genre, based on the appeal of these el ...more
This took me nearly a year to finish, partly because I'm distractable but also because it has a heaviness that saddened and slowed. I think I technically read this 3 or 4 times, since I moved back and forth with my re-reading, to remember and to re-think. Not much activity happens in the story and if you outlined the events it would only be a few points long. But wow. How to describe this?

I once knew a misguided young man who talked incessantly about "connection" and sought to "connect" with the
This book kept reminding me of Ron Loewinsohn's Where All the Ladders Start, but I think it was the just a superficial resemblance between the younger girls who become romantically involved with the older protagonist.

Karen recommended this book to the world in her review.

A friend of a friend calls it maybe his favorite book.

Some reviews call this a mid-life crisis book, I don't think it is one. It's more like an existential crisis book, but existential is such a dirty little word, maybe it's b
Jul 31, 2014 Ademption rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ademption by: karen
Shelves: novels

Sort of, not really, kidding.

The Zoo Where You're Fed to God (ZWYFTG) features a surgeon who might be going insane, or possibly having a mid-life crisis, having a spiritual awakening, or having a bad staycation in which he stops being himself. There's a sort of punk pixie girl and she might be manic, but less so than the surgeon. And there is the zoo, the surgeon's ex-wife and his son.

I liked how Ventura poetically explained that the surgeon's ex
Nov 28, 2010 Josh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Josh by: karen
Shelves: 2010
Apparently, Eve Babitz said this about the novel:

'This book is just dreamy. It rolls by in a dream.'

I don't know who the hell this Eve Babitz character is, but she's got it right. This book just flows. One scene moves to the next so fluidly as to make chapters almost unnecessary. Some sections are almost trance-like.

I'm not sure if I can give it five stars, but I did really like it, and it has some absolutely beautiful passages. My only complaint is that a few sections (ones where Ventura went
There are only two books that I've memorized the first paragraph to, and of the two, this is the only one that I memorized out of sheer love. Also, I read this book every six months or so and it never loses even a square inch of its charm.
Jeff Falzone
Maybe my favorite book
Kyle Muntz
probably the best novel i've ever read that was set in something close to the real world
I couldn't get through this book. I gave it 3 stars because while it was well written and engaging, I'm not so sure i can handle another 'mid life crisis' book right now. They all seem to bleed together in my mind. I'd like to come back to it as I'm sure it offers something different from the last; I just don't have the energy to sympathize with a middle aged, financially successful, divorcee.
Something tells me that after some time the four stars I've given this book will become three. I think I'm on a high from this book.

for a more thorough review

I don't know how to feel about this... it's a terribly haunting portrait of a man's descent into madness, but at the same time so difficult to read because of it. 3.5 stars.
The book has a curious kind of heaviness, fitting for the title I guess. It was a good read.
Winter Sophia Rose
Beautiful, Poetic, Powerful Masterpiece!
Bruce Loewenthal
one of my favorites of all time
Saliym Cooper
Absolutely Mesmerizing!
Manny Oh
Manny Oh marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2015
Ferrisbaxterian marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2015
Jesse Athey
Jesse Athey marked it as to-read
Mar 27, 2015
Maggy marked it as to-read
Mar 21, 2015
Sheen Sanz
Sheen Sanz marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2015
Sam Matcovsky
Sam Matcovsky marked it as to-read
Feb 27, 2015
Chris Tompkins
Chris Tompkins marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2015
Jay marked it as to-read
Feb 20, 2015
Kate Bystrova
Kate Bystrova marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2015
Nicolle Rios
Nicolle Rios marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2015
Aleksandra marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2015
Ozziemandrill marked it as to-read
Jan 26, 2015
Michele marked it as to-read
Jan 25, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Sea Came in at Midnight
  • George & Rue
  • The Lost Scrapbook
  • Lightning Bug
  • Magnetic Field(s)
  • Instant Love: Fiction
  • Whale Music
  • Like Being Killed
  • The Suitors
  • Look at the Harlequins!
  • The Book of Leviathan
  • A Child Across the Sky
  • Cut Through the Bone
  • The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales
  • The Paper Eater
  • The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done: A Novel
Michael Ventura is the author of WE'VE HAD A HUNDRED YEARS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AND THE WORLD'S GETTING WORSE (with James Hillman) and LETTERS AT 3A.M.--REPORTS ON ENDARKENMENT. THE ZOO WHERE YOU'RE FED TO GOD is the first book of a trilogy titled THE TIGER, THE ROCK AND THE ROSE. Ventura has also embarked on a series of novels about Las Vegas. He divides his time between Austin and Los Angeles.

From t
More about Michael Ventura...
Letters at 3am Shadow Dancing in the U.S.A. The Death of Frank Sinatra Cassavetes Directs: John Cassavetes and the Making of Love Streams Night Time Losing Time

Share This Book

“All paths cause pain, so to chose the safe over the audacious will not give you less pain, only less beauty.” 9 likes
“Good is not the opposite of evil, joy is the opposite of evil.” 8 likes
More quotes…