Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee- Review

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 978-0-00-743182-3

Length: 313 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mum and I arrived at Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time as the new owners at around six o'clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling in the misty darkness.'


Up until a few weeks ago, a group of friends (a mix of Spanish and English) and I would spend our Wednesday nights going to a discount evening at our local cinema. Not only did this provide an excellent form of Spanish practise for us Brits, but also a very enjoyable evening for all. This is on hiatus at the moment, but one of the films we have been to seen, is 'We Bought A Zoo' with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. Having enjoyed the film (despite being a little schmaltzy), the end credits revealed that this film was based on a true story, told in the book I'm about to review.

The story surrounds Benjamin Mee the writer of a DIY column buying a zoo with his family, despite none of them having any experience of animals whatsoever. The majority of the book deals with the problems Benjamin faces learning the many rules and regulations necessary to reopen Dartmoor Wildlife Park and also family tragedy.

Being a animal lover, I knew that this book was going to be right up my street. Mee's writing is warm, funny and contains many interesting facts on animal psychology/behaviours and very amusing anecdotes about the individual animals within the park. Mee also deals with his personal tragedy with sensitivity and even at times, humour.

In most of my reviews, I can always find something within a book that doesn't quite work, but with 'We Bought a Zoo' I can't find anything negative to say. The only disappointed I felt when reading this book, was that it had to end.

Is this book worth a read?

If you're an animal lover like I am, 'We Bought a Zoo' is definitely worth a read. Even if you aren't, I still think that this story of taking on the unknown is very good read. One word of advice, forget the film version of this, just read the book. It's brilliant.


  1. Well i have watched the film and not gonna lie its ok. Not something i would watch again. This review has made me actually WANT to read the book where the film had already made up my mind of not reading it. Definatly think of giving this ago, need a new book to read and think this could be the one!!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed the film, but felt that it was a bit shmaltzy. This book however isn't and is much more interesting than the film.