Friday, 15 March 2013

Book #23 We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee

We Bought A Zoo

Length Of Time In Possession : 1 year

I bought 'We Bought A Zoo' after seeing the 2011 film adaptation by Cameron Crowe starring Matt Damon. Inevitably whenever I see a film adaptation first my thoughts on the book end up becoming a cross comparison of the two.

When Mee's family realised that Dartmoor Zoo was for sale, their curiosity led them to enquire as a collective into purchasing it. After jumping through many hoops, they acquired the park, and 'We Bought A Zoo' chronicles the period between buying a run down zoo and preparing it for visitors.

In the midst of this, Mee's wife Katherine became terminally ill with cancer, and so the book also covers the emotional issues regarding illness and death occurring at an incredibly busy time in their lives.

The thing is, when they made the film, they transplanted it to America, which feels like a betrayal of a very British story. As well as this, the 'Benjamin Mee' in the film is already widowed when the film begins, and his mother who lived on the site with them does not feature.

To erase these pivotal figures from the narrative, as well as the process of the loss of Katherine feels again like a betrayal of the Mee's story.

Aside from the changes the film has made, the memoir is a very likeable, touching, easy read, with a unique against the odds story to tell, marking it out from other grief or project building memoirs for sale.

Verdict 8/10

Destination : Ebook storage


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