Read "We Bought a Zoo The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the Wild Animals that Changed T" by Benjamin Mee available. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Between his wife Katherine's diagnosis of Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like Additional gift options are available when buying one eBook at a time. Learn more $ Read with Our Free App; Audiobook. $ Free. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Between his wife Katherine's diagnosis of $ Read with Our Free App; Audiobook. $ Free with your Audible trial · Hardcover $ 81 Used from $ 20 New from $ 5 Collectible from.
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Reader Q&A. To ask other readers questions about We Bought a Zoo, please sign up. It dragged the book down and made me reluctant to continue. I run a movie Shelves: non-fiction, ebook, animal, memoir, biography, nature. Alright, so. The NOOK Book (eBook) of the We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the Wild Animals that Changed T by. Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps. Widowed father Benjamin Mee buys a struggling private zoo in the hope of making a fresh start with his young daughter Rosie and teenage son.
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This is not a drill. An inexperienced keeper had not bolted the enclosure correctly and Sovereign, the leopard, had jumped into the neighbouring enclosure, intent on fighting Tammy, the Siberian tiger. It looked as if one of Benjamin Mee's first tasks as a zoo director would have to be to decide which animal to shoot dead. Fortunately Tammy's keeper managed to coax her back into her house and lock her inside. Benjamin Mee and a couple of keepers stayed outside waiting for an anaesthetic dart gun to arrive from another zoo, and the next day Sovereign was sedated and returned to his enclosure.
The keeper was fired. At this stage Benjamin Mee needed 60, visitors a year to break even. The jaguar's escape was the first time he realised there were always going to be lives at stake. On another occasion before the zoo opened Parker, one of the wolves, escaped. There was a frantic hunt involving armed police, and eventually Parker was caught in a quarry two miles away.
As well as this catalogue of disasters, there is a lot of medical information, disappointments and sadness. We have known from the start that there is a tragic element to the story, and that Benjamin Mee's wife Katherine would be discovered to have a brain tumour.
She is present in the book in a background role well into the second half, when with great irony, after the massive project was finally completed, Katherine died.
Benjamin Mee was then not only a single father to two young children, Milo and Ella, but also responsible for a whole "family" of animals, plus the staff at the zoo. The old-handers and newly trained incoming keepers did not get on. When they eventually opened in July, it was the wettest for years, and the following three summers were hardly any better.
Benjamin Mee needed 1, visitors a day, yet it was not unusual to get a mere four people. For a long time he was still in financial straits. He was constantly worrying that the zoo simply wouldn't survive long enough for the projected film to come out. There was a T. In cameras showed an increasingly desperate Mee begging a bank manager for money, saying, "The wolves are at the door…" and, with his trademark humour, pausing to add, "… literally.
The film is very different. It is relocated to California, America, and Benjamin's wife does not feature. The story starts after she has died, when the character of Benjamin Mee is coming to terms with his new life as a widower and single father. The film focusses initially on the spiky relationship between him and his brother.
In the film, the main character Benjamin has a job as a journalist, which in the turmoil of his grief he walks out of. Other differences entail some of the keepers who are different characters, and there is a romantic element which is not present in the book.
Some of the animal episodes are there however, and the film is true to the "heart" of the book. Throughout the book, despite its faults of construction and focus, the writer's talent shines through.
He is engaging, has both charm and determined optimism. It make for quite an uplifting read, very honest, poignant and moving, quirkily humorous, yet revealing a genuine concern for both the individual animals, and the good of the species. The authors's heroes are Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough, and the reader can see that he tries to put all their principles into practice, and also develop new knowledge and good practice in the field on his own account.
Dartmoor Zoological Park itself is still in its infancy. It has homemade laminated signs, and the Mee house is right in the centre of the park, with no ropes or fences segregating it from the public. Recently, however, the zoo has been given a pair of endangered white-naped cranes, and also accepted onto a breeding programme, monitored by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Conservation is Benjamin Mee's passion. Dartmoor Zoological Park has three Siberian tigers and in the wild there are now fewer than Benjamin Mee has said, "I don't particularly like looking at animals behind wire. But, as a zoo director, I understand that it is absolutely essential that we keep them there. We can build up a broad genetic population in zoos and then if we can work out a way to regain an area the size of Siberia, just for tigers, then we can re-release them.
View all 11 comments. Laura Great review! Mar 28, Bionic Jean Laura wrote: Mar 29, Jan 07, K. My work in the office is to be in front of the computer for almost the whole day. Due to this, I can don a headset and listen to a radio station.
Since early this January, my favorite afternoon station, RJ What you need is a lot of heart. Then one evening, I saw a poster on top of a waiting shed along EDSA and when I saw Scarlett Johansson my well-kept secret crush and Matt Damon who to my disappointment lost the lead role in the latest The Bourne movie that is currently shooting here in Manila , I said whoa this seems to be a fun movie. But anyway, I resolved that I would not see the movie anyway so the cost of the book approximates the savings from not seeing the movie with my family.
I liked the book particularly that fact that this was based on a true story. It was hard for me to bring my own experiences that would have made this a memorable read. My childhood experiences in zoos were not that really beautiful. The Manila Zoo was the first zoo I visited, once when I was a small boy and I was so young I could not remember anything about it.
All I remember now was the stinking smell and the big scary elephant. I also remember that I wanted to eat another ice cream but my mother would not allow me to have another cone. My wife had a somewhat strange memory about her visit: When my daughter was young, we bought her to the same zoo, Malabon Zoo and the ones in Tagaytay.
There is nothing really wrong about the writing. Mee tried to capture everything that happened in an organized manner. Not sure if he exerted effort to make the telling interesting but I just did not feel anything while reading. Okay, he bought the zoo for his mother as he would like her to have something to excite her now becoming boring twilight years.
Okay, he was losing his wife, Katherine, to cancer and he probably thought that this would be a diversion of his grief. Okay, his two kids were all excited to own the animals in the zoo and their father seemed like a God-sent hero to save those animals.
Sure Mee has all the heart, and I salute him. There are heartwarming scenes but from page 1, despite all the hurdles thrown by Mee in the air for me to believe otherwise, I knew that the ending would be happy: If you are interested on animals, however, I still recommend this book especially if you are planning to buy your own zoo.
Quite informative, I would say. That radio teaser is still being played. I just heard it while typing this review. Lottie I'd have a crush on Scarlett Johansson if i was a boy. Great Review Oct 23, And I felt quite the same.
Recently saw this family friendly movie and enjoyed it. Any similarity between the book and the movie basically ends with the title. Mee's wife Katherine was alive at the time of the purchase and moved to the zoo with their two children Recently saw this family friendly movie and enjoyed it. Mee's wife Katherine was alive at the time of the purchase and moved to the zoo with their two children Milo age six hardly the trouble teen, Dylan, as portrayed in the movie and Ella age four a seven year old named Rosie in the movie.
His brother, portrayed in the movie by Thomas Hayden Church is not Mee's only sibling nor was he an unwilling participant in the venture, but a willing accomplice. Also, the Benjamin Mee in the book does not come across as the devoted, loving husband and father but as a rather selfish "I want what I want" personality who willingly uproots his family again and again to pursue his dreams.
Those are just a few of the more glaring differences between book and "true story" movie. These discrepancies do not detract from the movies overall appeal particularly if you have not read the book. As I mentioned, the movie is as warm and gooey as a hot fudge sundae and provides a great viewing experience for the entire family. Particularly enchanting is Maggie Elizabeth Jones who plays little Rosie. She is truly a delight to watch as she attempts to assume the roll of woman of the house.
While the book provides the reader with a more in depth look at Mee, the man, and the intricate problems involved the running of a zoo, he comes across as not very likable. The movie, on the other hand, give us a kinder, gentler Mee as we watch a heartbroken Matt Damon cope with the loss of his wife and attempts to raise two children while mastering a domain consisting of over exotic animals.
For once, the movie outshines the book View 1 comment. Mar 04, Terri rated it it was amazing. Part of what I'm writing is a review of the book, and part of it is a review of the reviews of the book.
First of all, a disclaimer: I am primarily, by personal choice, a fiction reader, but I do know that one must bring different reading skills and expectations to a non-fiction account than to a novel. The father is a writer of DIY arti Part of what I'm writing is a review of the book, and part of it is a review of the reviews of the book.
The father is a writer of DIY articles who has a long-standing project going of writing about animal behavior; the mother has a rather varied background in commercial art and design. The mother is diagnosed with a brain cancer which will be recurring. In spite of this setback, they continue with their plans for a life in France on a remodeled country property. After his father's death, the opportunity pops up for his family to buy a run down wildlife park in Devon on Dartmoor.
Terribly romantic setting, if you think about stories rather than the prison. Difficulties ensue--legal, financial, etc. Finally get the property. Trials and stories, some sad, some funny, some just factual, of gradually restoring the park and turning it into a conservation-minded, financially stable business.
What the book is not-- It is not the movie, which has departed rather far from the original story in many instances. It is not a "how-to" book on financing a business or animal care.
Admittedly, one does pick up little tidbits here and there, such as if one needs to anesthetize a tiger, do not use a sedative designed for a horse. It is also not a book in which you get the feeling that real-life events have been altered to make them more exciting.
This is a story about an extended family taking a risk and overcoming obstacles and a fairly frank evaluation of what tangible and intangible benefits they have gained from the experience.
View all 3 comments. Mar 28, Laura rated it liked it Shelves: I was exited to read this book because I loved the movie. Unfortunately however, this was one of those cases where the actual book fell short of the movie. I loved the story but the writing style, perhaps too plain and direct, made me feel like I'm reading a newspaper article instead of a book.
It didn't allow feelings to be properly shown. And it didn't allow me to really bond with any of the characters either. The humour also fell flat and felt like sarcasm most of the time.
I may be the odd on I was exited to read this book because I loved the movie. I may be the odd one out here but I cannot get myself to care a lot about a story, even if it is true and heartbreaking, if it's told in a plain style of the type: And yet, the tale itself was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time! It took a hell lot of guts and a ton of hard work for Mee and his family to succeed!
For this, I cannot but admire them and cheer for them from the stands. Because, that was simply fabulous! If you love animals, a man with a strong will and solid determination, and don't mind a forward and direct writing style, this book may be exactly what you're looking for. Happy reading! Apr 11, Melissa ladybug rated it liked it Shelves: While I basically liked this book, I did have several problems with it.
The author would frequently say something like "but more on that later" but then Mr. Mee never returned to the subject. This happened frequently towards the end of the book. I hated this aspect of the book.
Another issue, I had problems with Mr. Mee going on about money complaints and dealings with back room boys and others. He was beating a dead horse with some of his story. It was like he was trying to think of what to w While I basically liked this book, I did have several problems with it.
It was like he was trying to think of what to write and just didn't have enough to make a complete book. I would have enjoyed hearing more about the animals and the daily life of what it is like to own a Zoo. Come on, who wouldn't have loved to own a Zoo? Mee made it extremely boring. View all 7 comments. After loving the movie so much, it is difficult for me to give this book 3 stars.
We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee
I thought and hoped I would be able to proudly give it 5 shining stars. The book is not entirely bad. Benjamin Mee wrote as a journalist would -- the style was flowing, easy-to-read, a bit witty, and has a pretty good play of words.
It was perhaps the focus of the book and the diversion from the movie or rather, vice-versa -- the movie diverted from the book that made it a little disappointing. I was expecting to After loving the movie so much, it is difficult for me to give this book 3 stars.
I was expecting to read and know more about the characters, the dynamic relationships, and the drama they had to go through to save the zoo. But the book focused more on the animals, the specific care for them, the idiosyncrasies of each specie -- and I do not have a particular fondness for lions, flamingos, otters, and snakes just to name a few -- that is why it was a bit difficult to get to the end.
This book was my bed companion -- having bedtime as the only time for leisure reading -- and it surely did a good job of lulling me to sleep. It sounds that bad, huh. Yet, i would still give it 3 stars to give credit to the extraordinary experience the family went through and the journalistic style of Mr. Jan 01, Matt rated it liked it. Apparently in England you can buy a zoo if you have a million pounds or so The best parts were the references to Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, and the part where when they are testing the zoo restaurant before the zoo opens they drink most of the keg of Stella Artois before the zoo opens I felt slightly used when it became apparent that one of the author's motivations for buying the zoo was so that he could write a book about it.
Overall the writing is average, but it was a q Apparently in England you can buy a zoo if you have a million pounds or so Overall the writing is average, but it was a quick entertaining read. Sep 10, Ellen rated it liked it. It's written rather breathlessly and the photo gallery is completely unsatisfying more shots of the house and zoo rather than their animal inhabitants would have been nice, not to mention more photos of the family but the tale itself is pretty darn touching.
Mar 19, gargamelscat rated it it was ok Shelves: An interesting story spoiled by a literal take, inadequate writing quality and a superficial treatment. Ok for a memoir maybe there is no requirement for flights of lyrical prose but I expect better from a professional writer.
We Bought a Zoo
The superficiality bothered me - we get no real idea of the numbers involved and I'd like to have seen it treated as more of a business case study. The park itself, the background history and personality of the animals are never detailed except as involved in a couple of anec An interesting story spoiled by a literal take, inadequate writing quality and a superficial treatment.
The park itself, the background history and personality of the animals are never detailed except as involved in a couple of anecdotes. I enjoyed this detailed account of one man's family's acquisition of a failing zoo. It is considerably different from the movie: Also, the kids of the family have a far lesser role in the book than the movie.
That being said, it's still a good read. Detailed are the specific struggles financially and with government authorities to make the zoo a viable working operation. Moreover, he relays to the reader the human element of his wife's illness and the variety of characters who comprised the zoo personnel.
Enjoy it. A great book, well written and in depth plunge into the Mee's family life in the time of tragedy and hope of what can come out of it, I would recommend this book to anyone, has a lot of cool information on what it means to own a zoo, and a look into the loss of a love one. Audio CD Verified Purchase. Great book. I enjoyed it. Highly recommended. Gives the true story of what happened. I've always loved inspiring true stories. If you're looking for an inspiring, but also gripping and educational story, "We Bought a Zoo" is the story for you.
It is inspiring because it helps you see the bright side of the things; it is gripping because you want to find out how Benjamin will finally overcome all the difficulties, the harshest being his wife's death; it is educational as it hints at a few controversial topics about zoos. But above all, Benjamin gives a huge example of respect and consistency to his family and collaborators, and to readers.
I had heard this movie was great haven't seen it myself so bought the book assuming books are always better than the movie SO not the case here! I gave it three stars only because it's a great concept for a book and it was actually well performed in the audio version so I can see how it would have translated well to movie.
The book itself though was painfully slow and boring! The entire book was repetitive situations with moving animals from the run down zoo to other zoos or from one enclosure to another Oh, and by the way, the main character's wife dies of a brain tumor in the middle of all of this. That's about as much attention as was paid to the wife's illness and passing in the book In fact, the day she was laid to rest, her husband takes their youngest child to a park sort of to shake off all of what just happened.
Later, during the zoos initial opening just months after her passing, he completely forgets he just lost his dead wife until a photographer takes photos of her photo and he has an almost, "oh that's right Even the end of the story was predictable and anti-climactic since the entire book worked towards them getting their zoo license and opening on time without going into financial ruin.
For me, this book was similar to reading the diary of a teenaged girl Had breakfast. Went to school. Came home. Did homework. Homework was hard but I made it through. Took a shower. Went to bed. All in all, I was terribly disappointed in this book Loved the movie! Ben found himself juggling the daunting responsibilities of managing the park's staff and finances, while holding the bailiffs at bay and caring for his wife.
A moving and entertaining story of courage and a family's attempts to rebuild a zoo, and carry on after Katherine's tragic death. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
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Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention bought a zoo benjamin mee animal lovers great read true story well written matt damon wife katherine purchasing a zoo brain tumor really enjoyed dartmoor wildlife dartmoor zoological wildlife park zoological park see the movie wife katherine and her illness different from the movie mee family reading the book. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified Purchase. The book came within the estimated delivery time, and it was packaged nicely enough that it was in very good shape.
The pages are nice and thick, and it seems to hold up well. The story is absolutely beautiful