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We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed T

We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed T [Kindle Edition]

Benjamin Mee

Kindle-Preis: EUR 7,92 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

Weitere Ausgaben

Amazon-Preis Neu ab Gebraucht ab
Kindle Edition EUR 6,72  
Kindle Edition, 1. September 2009 EUR 7,92  
Gebundene Ausgabe EUR 18,25  
Taschenbuch EUR 9,30  
Audio CD, Audiobook EUR 23,32  


From Publishers Weekly

Between his wife Katherine's diagnosis of glioblastoma and her quiet death less than three years later, Mee (The Call of DIY), his siblings and his mother bought a bedraggled zoo, complete with decaying buildings, a ragtag group of animals, an eclectic staff and a reputation that had been quickly going to the wolves. In this occasionally charming (to his children: Quiet. Daddy's trying to buy a zoo) but overly wordy book, Mee writes about caring for his dying wife and their two young children, dealing with Code Red emergencies (when a dangerous animal escapes its confines), hiring staff, learning about his new two- and four-footed charges and setting his sights on refurbishing his zoo into a sanctuary for breeding and raising endangered animals. Mee tends to meander with too-long explanations for one-sentence points, and the awe he feels about each individual animal is repetitive. Coupled with Britishisms that are never explained and a curious lack of varied wild animal stories, this book that was obviously meant to make animal lovers roar with pleasure will only make them whine with frustration. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


DAILY MAIL "Mee writes most movingly about his wife's fatal illness, his children coming to terms with this, his sprightly old mum and, of course, his 200 wild animals in all their diverse glory." THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH "We Bought a Zoo by Mee is a genuinely heartwarming true story of triumph over devastating events." SHORTLIST "An engaging tale from someone who dared to do something different." THE WESTERN DAILY PRESS "One of the most inspiring books I've read." INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS "Hard to put down." ABERDEEN PRESS & JOURNAL **** "Most people who spotted the advert appealing for new owners for an ailing zoo would not even have considered the possibility. Much more likely, they would have dismissed the idea out of hand. But one adventurous family saw a challenge and were prepared to meet it head on."


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 373 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 304 Seiten
  • Verlag: Weinstein Books; Auflage: Reprint (1. September 2009)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #419.094 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  89 Rezensionen
51 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Lions and tigers and bears oh my! 19. Oktober 2008
Von Mary G. Longorio - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Benjamin Mee has finally settled his family in a French barn/house and has settled in to write a book when his father dies and his siblings begin to consider purchasing a zoo. His 76 year old mother supports this idea, but negotiations fall apart and each sibling returns to their lives. Mee and his wife Katherine and son Milo and daughter Ella are busy with daily life when a health problem strikes Katherine and the Mee family is just trying to survive. In the midst of this the zoo becomes available again and after protracted negotiations and countless compromises the family, minus one brother purchase the zoo which they rename Dartmoor Wildlife Park.

Life at the zoo is a continuing series of struggles as the family tries to return the park to a financial success. The children and the staff come to respect and love the animals. Of course there are unexpected crisis...escaping cats, sick animals, sick family and the countless health inspections. We Bought a Zoo is a delightful glimpse into what it takes to run a small private zoo and a glimpse of what might be referred to as the eccentricity of the British. I appreciated the honest account of one family's plunge into chasing a dream. While the story sometimes holds the reader at arm's length, it is a heartwarming read.
40 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Remarkable Story 23. Oktober 2008
Von Sheri S. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Rating: 3.5 stars

In "We Bought A Zoo", Benjamin Mee tells the story of how his family came to buy the Dartmoor Zoological Park and the great lengths it took to revitalize the zoo and prepare it for opening day. I think this book is particularly appealing because it is so hard to imagine most people purchasing a zoo or even entertaining the idea of doing so. Hence, the mystery of it all! I was intrigued by the book's topic and I just had to find out what Mee's thought process was and the reasoning behind his family's extraordinary acquisition.

From the start, Mee provides an in-depth analysis into the zoo-keeping business and leaves no details unexplored. Some of the information about animal grooming and sterilization seemed a bit excessive to have included and tended to distract from the story. However I do understand that Mee wanted to provide readers all of the facts, even if they seemed trivial, in order to paint the complete picture of what he had to cope with on a daily basis. The most interesting parts about the animals were their interactions with each other and their keepers. I also really liked the scenes that depicted the animal runaways which really gave a glimpse into how stressful and sometimes exciting managing a zoo can be. There are even some beautiful color photos of Mee's family and ones of the noteworthy animals mentioned in the book!

While most of the book is dedicated to details of the zoo and Mee's formal responsibilities to the zoo, the parts that talk about his wife Katherine and her illness are really touching. I enjoyed reading about their special relationship and how much Mee too care of her. It was nice to see the Mee's caretaking side because it came in contrast to his required business-like manner while running the zoo.

With all the anticipation that had been building up while reading the book, the ending was incredibly satisfying. It is one of those books where the ending can be nothing but expected, and nonetheless I felt an immense sense of relief when reading about the zoo's successful opening. I also felt proud of the Mee family for how much they had all accomplished and how they grew closer as a family, despite the hardships encountered along the way.

30 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Money Makes the Zoo Go 'Round.... 6. November 2008
Von Debra Rodgers - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
We Bought A Zoo is subtitled: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Changed Their Lives Forever

Given that, the story takes a little time to get off the ground. We find the author, a free-lance writer, living in rural southern France with his wife & two children and refinishing two dirt-floor stone barns. When word comes through his sister that a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside is for sale, the author & his extended family takes action to purchase it. This is not an easy endeavor and the business details fill the first quarter of the book. Note also that a BBC film crew got wind of the endeavour and asked to film the process.

The thing is, I don't think I'd like Benjamin Mee if I met him in person. He uprooted his family once, by selling their beloved flat in London to move to his personal idyll in France, and then again, back to England because, after all, HE'D always wanted to own a zoo and now his French dream wasn't what he wanted after all. On both occasions, he overrode his wife Katherine. This was especially appalling to me the second time because Katherine was newly diagnosed with a brain tumour & receiving (excellent) treatment in France. The fact that his (possibly) dying wife wasn't enthused about this new venture didn't faze him a bit.

In addition, although Mee has experienced staff and certified professionals advising him, he ignores their advice in serious decisions at least twice that he reports. In both cases, things ended up favorably but, rather than be grateful for twists of fate that may have affected the situations, he boasts and struts.

But the story? Animal lovers, once you get past the purchase transaction, there's plenty of goodies for you amidst the details of the continuing financial issues, grim living conditions (for the family), and Katherine's disease and eventual death.

Imagine the day staff moved Tammy the tiger without proper restraint precaution, only to have the beast gain consciousness as they moved her. Mee describes the situation as being "beyond fear, to total calm". But the fear lingered when, sometime later, Mee & his brother are startled by a large animal moving behind them while checking some reservoir pipes, & spring to defend their lives - against the neighbor's cow. I believe they were less afraid when one of their younger wolves was running loose through the nearest town. And there is an amusing exposé: what happens "When Porcupines Go Bad".

Perhaps the most likable animal in the zoo was Zak, the elderly alpha wolf, who "maintained his grip on the pack now, not with brute force, but through sheer charisma and experience." The account of his surgery to save him from testicular cancer will be a source of angst among male readers and of glee to the women.

Mee's account of the peacock - which he evidently disdains - as a dumb, evolutionary mistake, is humorous. It also amuses me that Mee can describe the wonders of these animals and their behaviours and personalities and make attribution every time to the marvel of evolution, to the point, by his own admission, that it "[made] evolution sound (almost) like a religion".

That these creatures are so intelligently made, with abilities beyond what are needed for survival, and so varied is surely evidence of a designer, a creator. And since, according to Mee, the peacock (named, so he postulates, for the size of its brain), has that marvelous tail that is so "evolutionarily expensive", it really should be extinct by that theory. The last time I checked on the world's peacock population, that wasn't the case.

I would have loved to see more photographs of the animals Mee brings to life in his stories, but the colour pictures included are disappointing. Nearly half are of their project in France, and the ones of the animals include many that are not named in the book, and exclude many that are.

I really did learn a tremendous amount, though, about the running of a zoo. It's a highly regulated & examined business - and an almost unmaginably expensive one to run. The money and the struggle to get it, manage it & plan for making it, are a major part of the book. And, animal lovers with the same dream, please note that, despite the months of Herculean effort by Mee, his family & his staff, the zoo would not have succeeded financially if the BBC (whose film crew had been on location for those many months) had not run the four-part television series Titles "Ben's Zoo" in November of their opening year. That brought more paying visitors and made endless opportunities for additional moneymaking venues such as this book. Without that, the zoo would have closed, broke, after the first summer and the animals would have been disperse. In other words, "Kids, don't try this at home!"

Should you read it? Even though I personally dislike the author, he does write well and the book held my attention from beginning to end. There are no bogged down bits - it's all moving forward. If you like animals or are interested in learning about the world of zoos, then by all means - read it & enjoy!
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful tru story 6. Juli 2009
Von Lauren Irk - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a wonderful book. It is heart warming and at times heart wrenching. It was a little hard to keep track of who all the people are. I would recommend making a list of who's who. I think it is a wonderful book that all zookeepers or those interested in zoos or animals should read. I got a better understanding of what it takes to run a small zoo and even more, the hardships of getting a rundown zoo back up and running. Mee's experience was documented for animal planet and I wish I had seen it.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Powerful memoir 17. November 2008
Von Mint910 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This was a pretty powerful memoir. It combines a family, a dream, hard work, and tragedy. I think for the most part all the elements are pretty well balanced. I was rooting for this family and the success of their zoo and dream. They worked tirelessly to make improvements for the animals and zoo while trying to remain a close-knit family as the author's wife passes away.

I loved reading about the author's wife and children, especially his love for his wife. I would have loved to learn a bit more about his other family members as well. The author's mother is mentioned several times but I would have liked to learn more about his siblings.

All the stories related to the zoo were pretty amazing. Multiple animal escapes, staff spats, and animal personalities. There was a great deal going on. And I loved it all! At times when the author was talking about the animal enclosers I had a hard time picturing exactly what he meant. I don't know if it was just me or if it's hard for a zoo outsider to understand these things. It was very rewarding to see the zoo's makeover from start to finish and see the staff form and come together to get the zoo ready for inspection.

This was a very original true story and I would like to learn more about this family and their zoo since this book was completed!
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