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The Zookeeper's Wife
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Archive: Other Books > The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman- 3 Stars

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message 1: by Joi (last edited Oct 09, 2017 11:16AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments This book suffered the "read-in-the-wrong-medium" syndrome. I did the audio book of this, and looking back I should have picked up the book. The narrator was fine, she did a slough of voices and different accents, had good tone, kept the right pace. But there are just too many tangents, veers from the plot, and references to keep the main plotline straight and concentrated.

Once you dig through the historical research and find the plot- it was very interesting. This follows a true story of zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who end up smuggling Jews around their former zoo to save their lives, and essentially hide in plain sight. It also touches on other subjects of animal "bloodlines" in relation to when the Nazi's tried to "clean" European bloodlines by eradicating Jews, historical hunting, and zoo ethics and non-ethics during this time period.

Now this book is non-fiction, but you can tell it is intensively researched. The author is well versed on the subject- a little too well versed. There are often times complete semi-related tangents on subjects. If she wanted to write about this subject in this way- why not write a non-fiction book? I was left confused about what really was true (she actually puts "in an interview from...." and "cited by..." in the text of her book)- which lead me to believe it's factual. But then the storyline is only semi true? The author just wants the luxury of writing historical fiction, and be able to take liberties with characters and scenes- but also want's to be informational and show off her research. I get the feel of historical fiction is much different than non-fiction. But this seemed to teeter the line, and get confused between the two. You can't have both! The characters, development, and actual plot of what was happening at the zoo fell by the wayside to the historical context.

Anyone seen the movie?


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 8842 comments I loved this read, but then again I never listen to audio. It made my top 10 for 2016. Glad you read it, or listened. It's actually an amazing story. I agree that it blends the line between nonfiction and historical fiction. I think that's what I liked about it.


LibraryCin | 8617 comments I haven't seen the movie, but I'd like to. I really enjoyed the book, with a 4.25 stars rating. I did read it in print, though.


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