John Wood's Reviews > The Dragon Keeper

The Dragon Keeper by Mindy Mejia
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Oct 17, 12


I finished this last night. One of the first and most remarkable charms of this remarkably readable book is the author managed to make me care deeply about a cold-blooded reptile (a komodo dragon) and a near-autistic zookeeper who cared about the reptile. This is a love story in the best sense of that word, one that convinces us to care about people and animals who are all too easy to ignore, even revile. This is not the sort of book I'd have picked up on my own (and I confess I did so initially because my publisher published it, and even so it would have been easy to duck reviewing, so I do so without any sense of obligation to review). In the end I was intrigued by the premise, and once I got going, I was carried along by a story that made me wonder how this dragon could be so appealing and then wondering how not and why I'd never seen one before and wanting to go and see one and find out more about them, and so on. In the end I was sad to leave the characters behind, wanting to begin the story all over again, and to me that's the best kind of book to read, one we want to stay within.

Another wonder of this book is the way it takes the reader behinds the scenes at the zoo, the sorts of places I've always wanted to go but had no access to. As an anthropologist myself, I found the book, besides being a readable tale, a window into a culture -- zoo culture -- that I could only imagine before reading this.
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