Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
The Zookeeper's Wife follows the life of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, the zookeepers of the Warsaw Zoo. The two fall in love, take over the zoo, and build it with great success. Then, the zoo was bombed and many of the animals lost. The Germans came to "save" some of the remaining animals, to preserve the pure breeds, leaving the Zabinskis with a home in shambles. Yet, they stay to care for those that remain. In truth, the zoo is a cover for Jan's secret activities and becomes a home for their ever-expanding family, both their own children as well as their "guests" that come to visit and those that hide in the cages with secret animal names.
The Zookeeper's Wife was an absolutely fascinating read that made me ponder so much and created great discussion in my online book group. I marked a number of pages in this story, noting certain passages that I needed to revisit. My only downside is that it initially took me a while to get accustomed to the writing. The author is known for her poetry and her writing reflects that even in this nonfiction. Her descriptions of some items were extensive and seemed to be unimportant (though not always the case). In the end, it is a book that I would recommend, especially if you are looking to expand your list of reads pertaining to World War II. You need to know the Zabinski's.
Are you familiar with the Zabinski's story? What are your thoughts on The Zookeeper's Wife?