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  • We Bought a Zoo

  • The Amazing True Story of a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed a Family Forever
  • By: Benjamin Mee
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Summary

A film tie-in edition to 20th Century Fox’s film adaptation of the heartwarming international best seller starring Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon and directed by Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe. An amazing true story that has inspired the major Hollywood motion picture this Christmas, to be repackaged for release alongside the film.

We Bought a Zoo is about one young family, a broken down zoo, and the wild animals that changed their lives forever. When Ben [played by Damon] and his wife Katherine [played by Johansson] sold their small flat in Primrose Hill, upped sticks with their children, and invested their savings into a dilapidated zoo on the edge of Dartmoor, they were prepared for a challenge and a momentous change in all their lives. With over 200 exotic animals to care for - including an African lion, a wolf pack, a Brazilian tapir, and a jaguar - Ben’s hands, and those of his wife, children, and tiny team of keepers, were full.

What they weren’t prepared for was Katherine’s devastating second brain cancer diagnosis. Ben found himself juggling the daunting responsibilities of managing the park’s staff and finances, while holding the bailiffs at bay and caring for his wife.

A moving and entertaining story of courage and a family’s attempts to rebuild a zoo, and carry on after Katherine’s tragic death.

©2011 Banjamin Mee (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Mee writes most movingly about his wife’s fatal illness, his children coming to terms with this, his sprightly old mum, and, of course, his 200 wild animals in all their diverse glory." ( Daily Mail)
" We Bought a Zoo by Mee is a genuinely heartwarming true story of triumph over devastating events." ( The Belfast Telegraph)
"An engaging tale from someone who dared to do something different.” ( Shortlist)

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What listeners say about We Bought a Zoo

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, pity about the reader.

I enjoyed the book, but, found that the delivery of the narrator (who had meticulous diction) sometimes was without expression. Some of the sad parts of the story were read in the same tone as some funny incidents. Only occasionally was there a glimmer of humour. Sorry but it spoilt the enjoyment of the book.

3 people found this helpful

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bloody brilliant

without a doubt the best book I think I've ever read sad happy and just a wonderful story and a wonderful true story fantastic for anybody who loves animals or just loves a laugh

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story but poor choice of narrator

the story itself is fascinating and well written. however the narrator (though very articulate) was so dry and matter of fact he was completely devoid of emotion. chapters talking about his dying wife were told in the same manner as the funny chapters. really bizarre.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Huge thank you to Benjamin

Wonderfully written account of events shared with a dry humour that compelled me to keep listening to the end with only a few breaks. Narrator's delivery was so honest that I could imagine it was his story he was narrating.

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Beautiful and inspiring story

My son and I really enjoyed listening to this story, mainly on our special trip to and from a safari park.

Up their with the works of Gerry Durrell and a throughly great book / listen

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Unique and memorable experience

Well read and such a nice sweet story highly recommended what an achievement and a challenge

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An amazing book

Such a wonderful story of the epic highs and the heart breaking lows. A wonderful underdog story of the man who everyone telling him he couldn't do it but he did. I loved the film of the same name but apart from a few similarities it is a completely different story. Which although that story was so well told it's a shame it couldn't have been the actual story as it is equally if not more exciting. Very disappointed to have finished listening to this would have been happy if it had gone on a lot longer. Felt a bit of sadness as I saw "11 minutes left"

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  • PJ
  • 20-03-15

Great story told with British stiff upper lip

If you could sum up We Bought a Zoo in three words, what would they be?

Compelling. Funny. Human.

What did you like best about this story?

The heroes win against all the odds in a true life story.

What does Gildart Jackson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Great 'British' dead pan delivery.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was touched by the obvious regard the author has for the animals.

Any additional comments?

Good book. Liked the film too but this is the proper Brit version.

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really funny

An excellent book which I found myself laughing like I haven't for a long time!

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Fab

I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. It kept me gripped all the way though! I think I need a trip to Dartmoor Zoo! (Just a shame I live in Yorkshire and its a bit far for a day trip!)