In a charming voice, the author tells his family's story of trial by fire and resilience with boundless optimism and a self-deprecating wit. From the seed of an idea to the zoo's opening day, this book is full of funny anecdotes, including animal escapes, zoo license applications, and less-than-stable finances.— From Emily A.
“I was pulled along with Benjamin Mee and his family through the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking, as they purchased a rundown zoo set to close. It's a wonderful, funny-but-sad story of making a dream come true”
— Macaela Willadsen, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Brookfield, WI
The remarkable true story of a family who move into a rundown zoo–already a BBC documentary miniseries and excerpted in The Guardian.
In the market for a house and an adventure, Benjamin Mee moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. His friends and colleagues thought he was crazy.
But in 2006, Mee and his wife with their two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety Alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man, but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who has devised a long term escape plan and implemented it.
Nothing was easy, given the family’s lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy. We Bought a Zoo is a profoundly moving portrait of an unforgettable family living in the most extraordinary circumstances.