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Book Review of The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
Ladyslott avatar reviewed Left me cold on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9


This book was such a disappointment for me. I usually like books about WWII and of those people who risked their own lives to save those being persecuted by the Nazis. Unfortunately this book left me cold. I had no connection at all with any of the characters, from the rescuers to the rescued. I read the entire book just wishing it was over.

During the time of the German invasion of Poland, Antonina and Jan Zabinski harbored hundreds of Jews and members of the Polish underground for as little as a few nights to several years. Risking their own lives and those of their children they provided refuge in their home and in the various cages of their former zoo. All in all an admirable and truly remarkable story. However Ackerman would go into detail about the playing of one song on the piano and glide over many of the logistics of this incredible charade. It is never made clear exactly how this subterfuge was carried out, and one never feels close to any of the people in the book. The writing is either so dry it is like choking down crackers or so overblown it is like smothering in verbosity. I read another book about WWII just after this one, and the difference was remarkable. I really wish the Zabinski story could be told by a more gifted writer, this book had the sensation of a distant look back, without any warmth or true feeling.