Jack's Reviews > Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

Zoo Story by Thomas French
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's review
Sep 07, 2011

liked it
Read from September 07 to 18, 2011

As the author points out, this is the non-fiction version of Life of Pi's Act One. French immerses himself in daily life at a major U.S. zoo, detailing the unique life and times of its animals and human characters. Along the way he offers a real, unpolarized view of the ethics of all zoos through the lens of a journalist and storyteller. I enjoyed French's excellent observational storytelling and talent for shifting from tales of everyday animal craziness to philosophical views about our relationship with animals.

Zoos are a type of paradox - Like Martel in Life of Pi, French contrasts the "freedoms" offered to animals in the wild with those offered in the zoo. The truth is surprising; like many complex issues, there are no simple answers. Having followed the saga of this particular zoo as it played out in the media, I appreciated this more in-depth look that escapes the sound bite-driven news cycle and gives the topic proper analysis. An interesting book for anyone looking to further explore the ethics behind these fascinating institutions.

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