Genre: Memoir, Family Drama, Comedy Publication.Date November 22nd 2011 Pages: 272 Published By: Weinstein Books | Website Benjamin Mee |
We Bought A Zoo - Goodreads My review copy: Finished copy received in exchange for an honest review
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You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.
And for once, Donald Rumsfeld, in the news at the time over the Iraq war made sense to me: "As we know," he said, famously, "there are known knowns-things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns-things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns- things we don't know we don't know.
After his wife died, Benjamin felt lost, heart broken and in desperate need of a change. The house, every corner of the town, even his old job - everything reminded him of his wife, bringing pain and restlessness. He needed to get away, and what's a better way to start over than buying a new house, relocating your family to the countryside and taking on a big project? A project grand enough to keep you well occupied for a long time. Like, say, refurbishing and reopening an old zoo...
We Bought A Zoo is memoir. Written by a former DIY columnist for The Guardian, it recounts the based-on-real-life experiences of buying and renovating Dartmoor Zoological Park in England (in the movie the zoo is called Rosemoor Wildlife Park). As far as memoirs go, this was an excellent one. Benjamin Mee writes with surprising tenderness and smoothness, keeping an even story flow without overwhelming the reader with too many facts, dates or names. Instead, he focuses on emotions. The grief is overpowering at first and omnipresent throughout the whole book. It's always there, even when the characters seem entirely focused on their new project. It's the motivation, the driving force behind their actions. It was fascinating and heart-wrenching to see the characters struggle to fill in the emptiness created by the loss of a family member. I was very moved by how Dylan (Benjamin's son) dealt with it. All the characters in this book, especially Benjamin and his two kids, were delightfully easy to connect with, their story - captivating and resonant. Watching them come together as a family to save the zoo, and - ultimately - themselves, was a wonderful and unforgettable experience. A journey from a dark and empty space into a brilliant future filled with hope, dreams, new love and happiness.
I highly recommend it.
Heart-warming, moving, funny, and beautifully acted - We Bought A Zoo is a very enjoyable family movie that will both lift your spirits with its graceful humor, and make you reflect on life and family related issues thanks to the profound message it carries. It's a fantastic adaptation of Benjamin Mee's memoir, and one of the most delightful movies I've seen in recent months.
Colin Ford, who plays the troubled son, was absolutely fantastic in his role. Sympathetic and real, he really brought his character to life with his convincing acting. And so did Matt Damon. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Matt Damon, but I must admit that he really fit into this role perfectly. You could tell that he enjoyed himself and that definitely elevated his performance. Scarlett Johansson surprised me. To be honest, I did not think of Johansson when picturing Kelly Foster while reading the book. I imagined someone taller, tougher and more obviously kick-ass. And yet when I saw Johansson on the screen I knew she was the one! She wasn't her usual girly self, she appeared stronger and fiercer than ever, and I really loved that about her. She turned out to be the perfect girl for the role.
It's not very often that I prefer the movie adaptation over the book its based on, but that's exactly what happened with We Bought a Zoo. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I loved the movie even more. Maybe it's thanks to the fabulous cast and their expressiveness, maybe I loved the animals, or the soundtrack and the uplifting atmosphere it created. Or maybe it's a little bit of everything and how it all came together, exploring the complexity of life, family relationships, grief and love. I don't know. All I know is that I really loved this movie. It moved me. I feel that I learned something important while watching it. It was a magical and enriching experience and I'll definitely recommend watching We Bought A Zoo to all my friends.
You can win a DVD of We Bought a Zoo and novel on which it is based!
About the AuthorEvie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and chatting with fellow book-worms.