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Archive: Other Books > The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - 4 stars

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message 1: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4648 comments The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - 4 stars

True story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński, the zookeeper and his wife, and how they saved hundreds of Jews during WWII in Warsaw. Themes include compassionate heroism, the human-animal connection, and the many ways to resist oppression. The author uses descriptive and poetic language to depict the scenes. I believe she was trying to relate the entirety of life in Warsaw at the time, not solely focusing on the specific story of Antonina her family. The narrative was interspersed with facts about the times in a mix of journalistic and novelistic prose. I learned a lot about the Polish Underground, entomology, animal behaviors, coping mechanisms for constant peril, and much more. I knew, of course, about the Nazi obsession with “pure Aryan” people but was previously unaware that the same fanaticism extended to animals and plants. I have read many true and fictional stories about WWII, and this book is a welcome addition to the canon, telling of a previously little-known resistance effort. It is a heroic story of people who had the courage to practice human decency and kindness at great personal risk. Recommended to those interested in the history of WWII. Contains graphic violence against people and animals.

This seemed like a good book to read in honor of Women's History Month.

Here's the link to my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9377 comments So loved this book! Great review.


message 3: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6891 comments Thanks, I'm always happy to see somebody else who appreciates this book.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2105 comments I loved the story but the story telling wasn't great to me. I gave it 4 stars but the writing lost my interest at times. At parts it was a struggle to stay interested, i think with too many detail and not enough "story". However, what amazing events to shed light on. To bring these heroic events and particular details that we otherwise might not known about is wonderful.


message 5: by Joni (new)

Joni | 625 comments This has been on my TBR for a while.


message 6: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments I was on the same page as Jason with this book. Such a strong story, I felt it got bogged down by too much research. I think I gave this 3 stars because of it.

Curious if it might be because Jason and I both listened to the audio? I felt the distraction from the story was more apparent in the audiobook. Did you folks do the audio or read text?


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9377 comments You know me, library and text girl all the way.


message 8: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9081 comments I really liked this one as well! 4.25 stars from me, if I'm remembering correctly!


message 9: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9081 comments Joi, I read it in print.


message 10: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Hmm.... my theory of higher rating for text vs lower rating for audio could be right!!


message 11: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2105 comments Joi interesting theory. Was it maybe the narrator? I didn't think she ewas bad, but maybe she was lacking in a way I didn't consciously realize.


message 12: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4648 comments I read it as an ebook.


message 13: by Elise (new)

Elise (ellinou) I just saw the movie XD Has any of you seen it? How does it compare to the book?


message 14: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4648 comments I have not seen the movie


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9377 comments I have it on my DVR.


message 16: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Jason wrote: "Joi interesting theory. Was it maybe the narrator? I didn't think she ewas bad, but maybe she was lacking in a way I didn't consciously realize."

I thought the narrator was fine- but I think the facts and figures given seemed more of a "distraction" from the actual story- than in the text where it felt more seamless between the story and research.

Also interested if anyone has seen the movie. I think I might like the movie better (which never happens) because it probably just focuses on Jan and Antonia more.


message 17: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Ellie wrote: "I just saw the movie XD Has any of you seen it? How does it compare to the book?"

Ellie I have not read the book yet but I thought the movie was good and well worth a watch. I thought Jessica Chastain did a fabulous job as Antonina.


message 18: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6406 comments This would be a good one for April's "strong women" tag!


message 19: by Ladyslott (last edited Mar 23, 2018 08:41PM) (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Jason wrote: "I loved the story but the story telling wasn't great to me. I gave it 4 stars but the writing lost my interest at times. At parts it was a struggle to stay interested, i think with too many detail ..."

I agree with you, (I think I rated it 3 stars (too lazy to look back)). I thought it would be interesting but I was bored most of the time.


message 20: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments My mom just recommended his movie to me.


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