The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman Release Date: September 17, 2007 Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company Non-fiction History/WWII Standalone Number of Pages: 384 Kindle Edition Source: MCL Rating: PG-13 Read 8/6/17 to DNF decision 10/1/17
I really hate DNF books, especially when they are book club books. I don’t know what it is but I just haven’t been into many of the books being chosen by my book club this last year. It’s probably an issue with me since, for the most part, I’m the odd man out. Just too much on my plate I guess. Not so much the case with this book, but I’ll get to the book club recap part of this review later.
When this was picked as our book club read back in July I was excited. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. Of course, because it’s now a movie, the waiting list was a bit long. But I was able to get my hands on a copy by the beginning of August and we weren’t having book club until September some time. Plenty of time to read a book that is less than 400 pages, right? Nope.
I can’t exactly put my finger on it but this one did not hold my attention. I wanted it to! I swear! The subject matter and era are things that interest me a lot. On one hand I think it may have had something to do with how it jumped around. The author had many tangents that were interesting, but too wordy and not relevant to the history. (It reminded me of this book in that regard.)
Something that I thought I’d like that I didn’t was the way the non-fiction book read like a fictional story. It ended up falling flat for me instead of getting me more into the story. It caused me to ponder if what I was reading was truth taken directly out of diaries of Antonina Zabinski or some embellishment by the author and her assumption of what was happening. That really took me out of the story and history I was reading about.
After my book club meeting I decided to try to finish this one. It’s due back at the library tomorrow and I haven’t touched it since book club more than a week ago. I guess it’s time to throw in the towel.
Here’s what happened at book club:
Nobody was there! Well, Kristina was hosting so she was there. And my Aunt Lynne and I made it. Unfortunately, there was a lot going on for people and they had to bow out at the last-minute. More food for us!
We already knew my mom wouldn’t be there…she was in California helping my little sis with her newborn twins and her toddler. But, believe it or not, my mom finished the book and sent us her thoughts by email. Liz’s dog had surgery a few days before but she had also finished the book and sent her thoughts by email as well. One of our members, Jen, who moved out-of-state, tries to read along with us and will send along her thoughts when she can. Which she did this time.
So overall, it wasn’t a well-loved book. The three of us actually there hadn’t finished the book. Lynne was much further along than I was and said it was more interesting after the half-way point. Kristina has a newborn and a toddler so it’s understandable that she couldn’t finish…although it was her pick. Liz said, in her email, that she finished but felt it had “a LOT of words” and she thought it would translate well to a movie. She also said it picked up a bit after the halfway point. My mom liked it quite a bit, she didn’t give much detail. Jen said she couldn’t finish it either.
That all being said, you can see why it felt almost like the permission I needed to put this one over on the DNF list. Don’t let that discourage you, to each his own of course! There’s nothing I can say that was actually bad about the book. It’s just not written in a style that was good for me at this time.
As for our next book club, we don’t have an exact date yet but it’ll be in November. Tina picked the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. She’s also had a bit of a problem finishing books lately so figured a middle grade book would be a good pick for now.