We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (2008)
Benjamin Mee and his family are living comfortably in France when his sister sends him the ad for the sale of the run-down Dartmoor Zoo. And with the help of his mother and siblings, he is able to buy it. But buying the zoo and getting the zoo to pass the inspection and to be ready for opening are two different things. Although they found the money to buy the zoo, they have hardly any money to get it ready and running. And in all this, his wife, Katherine got cancer and is getting worse.
It was a quick and easy read. And the story moved me, I kept hoping that everything would turn out okay in the end. But the writing was not the best I have read, maybe I’m starting to expect too much from the books I read. And I wish the animals could be more in focus, I didn’t really get a good description of the zoo and most of its inhabitants. The big cats are all well described, but others are just barely mentioned. And I wouldn’t mind at all a better description of the conservation part of the zoo, and it was a bit disappointing that this book only dealt with the beginning of it all.
The book has been made into a film, although it is set in the US. I’m sure that the film is going to be focusing more on the relationship between the people and animals.
Dartmoor Zoological Park and Benjamin Mee have also been made into a tv show, called Ben’s Zoo. And from the look of the website, it looks like it’s going well. If I’m ever at that part of the world, I’ll definitely pay it a visit.