Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper's Wife
by Diane Ackerman
Norton, 2007


Summary in a Sentence:

Relates the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, zookeepers at the Warsaw Zoo, who helped save the lives of approximately three hundred Polish Jews during World War II by housing and feeding them on zoo grounds and teaching them how to "pass" as Aryan.

My Thoughts:

Ackerman pulls from Antonina Zabinski's extensive memoirs of her experiences in World War II Poland and from her own research on the topic to tell the story of the hundreds of Jews that passed through this particular stop on the Polish Underground. Although this book is highly informative and at times extremely touching, I found it hard to feel fully engaged. I don't really know why this is; I'm extremely interested in the Holocaust and I'd read some great reviews on the book. Initially, I thought maybe I had hit some sort of wall and have read too many books on the subject, but then remembered that I had just recently read and loved a new book on one of the most famous figures in Holocaust history, Anne Frank. I felt that the book was slightly rambling and didn't really stay on topic as I expected it to. Ackerman's research certainly shines through, although at times her attention to detail is perhaps too great. I struggled to finish this one.

~ This book counts towards the Four Month Challenge  and the Take Another Chance Challenge ~

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15 comments:

Nina said...

I always struggle with books like these, they are so informative that it reads like a textbook. Even though the subject is very important I don't know if this book is a book that I would pick up soon. BTW great review!

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

It's been a over a year since I've read this, do the details are sketchy, but I remember feeling let down. I liked it and didn't have a problem finishing it, but was expecting more. I was expecting more Zoo, as I recall.

Amanda said...

I considered reading this last year for the A-Z Challenge but I just cringed away from it every time I went ot get it. For some reason I couldn't get up enough interest to read it.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Thats too bad that it didn't live up to expectations. It's such a letdown when that happens.

Lisa said...

It seems to me that some people find a great true story, research that heck out of it and then just don't know how to put all of that together. I'd been excited about this one a while back but then I started reading reviews like yours that make me think again.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for all the constructive comments. I always have a hard time posting negative reviews because what I don't enjoy might not be the same for everyone and I hate the idea of turning readers off of a book that might be right for them. However, I do really appreciate it when other bloggers are honest when something doesn't work out for them. Okay. End of rambling for now :)

Diane said...

I liked this book when I read it last year but I thought it was way too wordy!

Nymeth said...

Sorry to hear this didn't quite work for you! I haven't read it yet, but since I also have a thing for WW2 books, it's on my list.

Julie said...

It's too bad you didn't really like this book. The topic sounds interesting. I am definitely interested in Holocaust books, but maybe this will be one I can pass on. Thanks for the review.

Marie said...

I'm sorry this was a disappointment. I've been meaning to read it for a while; I probably still will, but I appreciate your comments.

Wanda said...

Bummer the book wasn't better for you but I enjoyed your honest review!

Zibilee said...

I have heard that this book is not really a very good read and that it was a little slow. I am sorry that you found it problematic. After reading a lot of tepid reviews I think I will skip this one.

Veens said...

I wanted to read it for the WW2 challenge!
But then all the reviews I have read of this one, have suggested that it is slow and does not live up to the expectations! And that is the reason why i am not too keen on getting it!

writergal said...

I've had this on my TBR list for a while and have taken it from the library a few times.

Have you read Night by Elie Wiesel? VERY moving account of the Holocaust.

Jenners said...

I'm sorry to hear this one didn't quite engage you as much as you hoped ... but it could have suffered by comparison to the Anne Frank book I suppose.

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