Momma Hunt

  1. Title: The Zookeeper's Wife
  2. Author: Diane Ackerman
  3. Paperback: 368 pages
  4. Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (September 17, 2008)
  5. Language: English
  6. ISBN-10: 039333306X
I found this historical novel to be very, very interesting. It was chosen for my book group but I am starting to get nervous that they will not have liked it as much as I did. Being that I am a history teacher I loved the fact that most of this novel was based on research by the author and told like a biography. I think that some people will find this style of book off putting.

The book tells the tail of a Zookeeper and his family who live in Warsaw at the start of WWII. The story tells the tail of this family (primarily the zookeeper's wife) during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. The book tells the tale of what happened to the Jewish population of Warsaw, life in the Warsaw ghetto, and how the zookeeper's family helped as many people as possible. It was a great look into not only what life was like in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation, but what life was like for a family (particularly a housewife) during this era.

For me what I liked was the historical aspect of the book. I loved the first hand accounts of what life was like in the city during the war and what it was like for the Jews living in Warsaw during the occupation, reassignment to the ghetto, and eventual liquidation of the ghetto. More importantly the aspect that I loved about this book was it showed how average people did above average things to help the Jewish community during WWII. Everyone has heard of people the Schindler who saved thousands, but you never hear about all those who helped three or four people along the way. This book showed how one family made a difference for several people and risked their lives in the process. Not only is it a great historical piece, it also a great psychological piece in that it looks at the human condition and the desire to help others versus our desire to protect ourselves.

For those who love historical books this is a must read. I give the book **** according the the J. Kaye scale.
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5 Responses
  1. Nely Says:

    I've had this one in my TBR pile for a while. I guess I'll have to read it sooner than later. Lovely review.

    ♥ Nely

  2. Jenny Says:

    I've had this on TBR for a while too. I was under the impression this was a memoir... do you know if it's fiction or not?

  3. Momma Hunt Says:

    Its not really fiction, but it is listed as a novel, but really reads as a memoir. She has a whole section where she discusses her research. I didn't get the feel that any of it was made up, but she takes the facts and writes it more of a story then a historical account

  4. Jessica Says:

    Great review! I have added this one to my wishlist. :)

  5. Helen Says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the review. I saw this at the bookstore and almost picked it up. I will add this book to my wishlist.

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