Review: We Bought a Zoo
Benjamin Mee was living in the South of France with his young family, and making a living as a journalist, when his sister called to say that she thought the family should buy a run-down zoo with money from their late father’s estate. It would require their mother to sell the family home, but she was all for it, so they decided to pursue it. The sale went through and the family found themselves with an unlicensed zoo on their hands and Mee and his family moved back to England.
I was really excited to read We Bought a Zoo, by Benjamin Mee, because it’s exactly the kind of book I usually love. A memoir about ordinary people taking on an extraordinary project always excites me – except this time. I really loved the story behind the book and I love and admire what the Mees did, but the execution of the book fell a little flat for me. Mee focused more on the business aspects of bringing the zoo up to code and I wanted to read about the personal side of things. I wanted emotion, heart, fears, frustrations and triumphs, but what I got felt more clinical to me – almost as if he was just reciting the facts.
I did enjoy some aspects of the book, though. I loved it when Mee wrote about the animals. It was fascinating to read about the behind the scenes mechanics involved in moving a large, dangerous animal or the logistics involved in capturing an escaped animal. I also enjoyed learning about how closely zoos work together. I admire Mee and his love and devotion for the animals in his care.
Overall, We Bought a Zoo was just okay for me, but I’m really looking forward to the movie. From the trailer, it looks like they’ve made quite a few changes.