Title: The Zookeeper's Wife
Author: Diane Ackerman
Date Finished: 14 April 2009
My Rating: 3 Stars
Challenges: 100+, Library, New Author, WWII, Name
This is one work of non-fiction that just missed the mark for me. I was really looking forward to reading this account of WWII but found myself frustrated and bored while reading it.
According to the book, The Zookeeper's Wife tells the story of Jan and Antonia Zabinski, zookeepers in Poland who managed to use the zoo and it's facilities to hide and save the lives of countless Jews during the war.
When the book actually focused on the Zabiniskis and their work with the underground it was really interesting. Unfortunately, the author went on too many side trips and tangents that took away from the story of the Zabinskis. Ackerman's background as a naturalist really came through in her writing but I did not pick up this book to read long descriptions of beetles and other insects or animals. There was a lot of history and information included that did not promote or add to the central story but instead distracted from it. I really wish Ackerman could have stayed focused on the Zabinskis and Antonia especially. The times when Antonia's diary was quoted or the narrative shared Antonia's experiences were really great but there just was not enough of those moments in the book.
The story of the Zabinskis is a heroic one of courage and kindness carried out in the most harrowing of circumstances and I think I would have enjoyed their story more in the hands of a different author. It was just too difficult to find a cohesive story in this text.