Audiobook Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

by Kim on December 14, 2009 · 31 comments

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Title: The Zookeeper’s Wife
Author: Diane Ackerman
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Audiobook
Year: 2008
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Antonina Zabinski always had a way with animals, which made her the perfect women to marry a zookeeper. For many years, Antonina and her husband Jan tended the animals of the Warsaw Zoo with humor and passion. But when the Nazi’s took over Poland, their lives and the lives of the zoo animals are thrown into disarray.

Rather than wallow in the considerable losses caused by the Nazi occupation of Poland, the Zabinski’s fight back, using the zoo and their chaotic home to help Polish Jews escape the Warsaw ghetto and Nazi persecution.

Book Review: The thing I like best about this book was the way Ackerman took one character and one story and used that story to tell a story that was much bigger. Antonina Zabinski was just one Polish woman working against the Nazi regime, but her story lends itself to a broader exploration of the Nazi occupation of Poland and the Polish resistance.

This is a nonfiction book that I think people who love fiction would enjoy a lot — Ackerman isn’t dry at all and tells this story with the same level of character, dialogue, and description I expect in any work of fiction. And it’s a really great story — I don’t know that you could make up a story that was this compelling.

Audio Review: The narrator of this book, Suzanne Toren, was excellent. She had this beautiful way of saying “Antonina” that made me smile every time she said it. The book lends itself to audio quite well. The plot moves along following a timeline, so that makes it easy to follow. And Ackerman does a good job of bringing the reader back to the main story after each diversion from that plot. Overall, it was an easy book to listen to and I enjoyed it (despite my overall lack of yelling to myself in my car as I listened).

Other Reviews: Caribousmom; Fyrefly’s Book Blog; Devourer of Books; Both Eyes Books Blog;

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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