I approached this book as a novel but looking it up after reading I see it is classed as non fiction. This means currently I’m questioning what non fiction is. Are all books based on true stories non fiction?
Approaching the book as a novel, I found it very text book like a times albeit not a hard core arduous text book to read. But spinning that round, if it is a textbook it is a user friendly text book because the chronological order has a good narrative running through which keeps you wanting to read more. The opening chapter draws you in. It is very descriptive; describing the central characters Jan and Antonina and their zoo but it a more free flowing natural way then later passages that seem more text book like. The opening chapter and the book’s title the zoo keeper’s wife create a homely, wholesome image which creates a sharp contrast to the war that follows the opening chapter.
The book is obviously well researched, but sometimes it felt like superfluous facts were shoe horned in such as when describing someone thinking; describing Neuron pathways. The book did make some interesting points comparing animals to humans. Overall it was a good read, but I’m looking forward to seeing it brought to life further in the film which I will capture the colour and quirky atmosphere of the zoo and engage on a more emotional level. I think watching film first would not ruin this book as the book, is very factual and could be dipped into after to check accuracy of the film. From looking at stills from the film, it looks like in glamorises the book. Considering Antonina mucks in with the zoo and was bed ridden for part of the war; I’m not so sure she looked as glamorous as film on surface portrays.