Historical WWII fiction? Check. Zoo animals? Check. Strong female MC? Check. It sounded like The Zookeeper’s Wife was the perfect fit for me, but I have to say it folks… this was a DNF’r. I got through about 40% of the read which, for me, is plenty enough to know if I’m going to fall into the story or close the book. It’s a rough way to end 2018/ start 2019, but as I’ve said, there are just too many books out there that I want to get to, and if one isn’t working out, it’s better to just let go and move on.
I was introduced to the main characters, Jan and Antonina Zabinski, and their life as zookeepers in Warsaw, Poland. A few years prior to World War II, the Zabinski’s were in charge of the city’s zoo, studying and caring for the animals in a way so that they would thrive in their habitats. Antonina shares mostly from her prose-heavy observant perspective, detailing the family’s devotion to the zoo and its inhabitants. Then, when Germany invaded Poland, Antonina has to learn how to keep the harmony and balance within the zoo while the world’s most chaotic war wages just outside the zoo’s walls.
Though the premise was super intriguing, the prose of the novel- though well written and pretty- was almost melodramatic to me. Then, when the drama (ie. war) begins, it’s almost like there was no change to the tone. I also thought that I could already predict what would happen. This just left me feeling underwhelmed with the novel- especially after hearing how interesting and good it was. I don’t know if it was the hype, or if I was burned out on WWII histfics, or if Ackerman’s writing style just didn’t click with my reading style, but this book was one that I just knew wasn’t going to become my next amazing read.
Instead of tossing it aside, I think I’m going to send this one on to the little library, in the hopes that someone else will connect with it. I’d still love to hear your thoughts though- have you read this one? What drew you into it? Comment below so we can discuss.