Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (read 6/8/15 to 7/2/15)

Another BOTM book.  This is the story of a polish couple that hide Jews from the Nazis during WWII in their zoo.  I'm secretly a little obsessed with WWII stories, ever since I read Diary of Anne Frank in elementary school.  Even the ones where they don't survive, I think it is because I just can't understand how such an atrocity as the Holocaust could happen, and I'm uplifted by the resilience of the survivors.  I didn't pick this book but I suspected I would like it because of the subject. 

It's a really quick read, I know it's nonfiction and based on journals and interviews, but it doesn't read like nonfiction normally does.  It's so not dry or monotonous, it has a great fluidity to the story. Ackerman does an amazing job of weaving the facts in with the personal antidotes, to create a story not just a history.  I know that it was war, and that loss of human life was devastating too.  But hearing about the zoo animals being shot and bombed was a bit traumatic for me.  Their deaths felt incredibly senseless and tragic, and knowing it was true and not fictional deaths made it even harder for me to read.

Again with the animal deaths, so senseless and cruel.  How is that a hunt if they are locked in cages?  Grrr 

For some reason I'm having problems with the timeline, it feels like it will jump from early war to late war to mid war back to late war etc.  Maybe it is just me, but I wish it was more linear.  I think the issue is that she goes off on side tangents for events or people and puts the whole blurb about them in one place so she doesn't have to come back to them or so we get their whole story, but it confuses me on the timeline for the main storyline.

I was a little disappointed, I think I expected a bit more of a story and instead I felt that we got a sporadic telling of a bunch of people pieced together in a non-linear timeline.  I liked the books, the individual stories were good, but as a whole it left me wanting.

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