Kat Shelton's Reviews > We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee
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May 17, 2009

bookshelves: to-read

Book Jacket:
In the market for a house and the adventure of a lifetime,
Benjamin Mee decided to uproot his family and move them to
an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English
countryside, complete with over 200 exotic animals. Mee,
who specializes in animal behavior, had a dream to
refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business.
Naturally, friends and colleagues thought he was crazy.

Mee's pipe dream became a reality in October 2006, when he
and the rest of the Mee clan--wife Katherine, son Milo
(age six), daughter Ella (age four), brother Duncan, and
Benjamin's seventy-six-year-old mother--relocated to the
Dartmoor Wildlife Park and met their new neighbors,
including Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the
local golf course; Zak, the elderly Alpha wolf, a
benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian
tapir, easily capable of killing a man but hopelessly
wimpy; and Sovereign, a jaguar who had devised a long-term
escape plan and implemented it.

The grand reopening of the zoo was scheduled for spring,
but there was much work to be done and none of it easy for
these novice zookeepers. Tigers broke loose, money ran
low, the staff grew skeptical, and family tensions reached
a boiling point.

Then tragedy struck, and the situation went from difficult
to unimaginable. Katherine had a recurrence of a brain
tumor, forcing Benjamin and his children to face the
heartbreak of illness and the devastating loss of a wife
and mother. But inspired by the memory of Katherine and
the healing power of the incredible family of animals
they had grown to love, Benjamin and his kids resolved to
move forward. The Mee family opened the gates of the
revitalized zoo in July 2007 to great success.

Brimming with energy and insight, "We Bought a Zoo" is a
profoundly moving portrait of an ordinary family living in
the most extraordinary circumstances.
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