Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Zookeeper's Wife, A War Story by Diane Ackerman

Originally published on MySpace, Mar 4, 2009

This is a biographical story of Antonina Zabinski, a polish woman and the wife of a zookeeper in Warsaw, Poland. The story is told of their life and activities during WWII. The author tells the story through other biographies and journals kept by Antonina, and therein lies the 'problem' with this book.

For my tastes this is written much too much like a text book. Instead of creating the story around the events of their lives, the author is overly concerned with keeping to exact truth in her story and often uses quotes from the source or journal to be sure the reader knows how accurate it is. I found this disturbing and distracting from the tale.

The Zabinskis were active in helping many Polish Jews escape the Nazis by providing their villa and zoo as part of the underground resources. Mr. Zabinski battled and fought with the Polish Resistance and was, toward the end of the war, held prisoner. The story should be fascinating and exciting, but told in such a way that I never felt too concerned or frightened for those involved.

I can tolerate some author priviledge in embellishment as long as the basic facts of the story hold true. If the author would have chosen to expand on the horrors or emotions that were being experienced at that time, I would have forgiven her. But she tells only what she is absolutely sure of and I feel she missed making me feel all the empathy and passion I would otherwise have felt.

I give it a C. The content was excellent but the story telling lacked far too much.

1:09 PM

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