Customer Reviews for

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

Average Rating 4
( 205 )
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5 Star

(76)

4 Star

(59)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(34)

1 Star

(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Reaching the goodness within

I wholly endorse the five star reviews already printed here. I find the most memorable aspects of the book are the instances in which Antonina was able to reach the goodness within apparently evil people through her calm communications. Although the descriptions at th...
I wholly endorse the five star reviews already printed here. I find the most memorable aspects of the book are the instances in which Antonina was able to reach the goodness within apparently evil people through her calm communications. Although the descriptions at the beginning seemed lengthy, the book was hard to put down as it drew to the climax of the Polish uprising.

posted by Anonymous on December 6, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Vague

It's a shame that this book misses the mark. The story of Jan and Antonnia deserves to be told by someone who can do it justice. The author can't even decide the narrative point of view, she never commits to it as either a novel or a documentary account, switching view ...
It's a shame that this book misses the mark. The story of Jan and Antonnia deserves to be told by someone who can do it justice. The author can't even decide the narrative point of view, she never commits to it as either a novel or a documentary account, switching view points and adding obscure parenthetical references that are odd distractions. The run-on sentences are very hard to follow. Time and location shifts are vague and confusing too. I heard about this book through an interview with the author on Public Radio, but the interview was 10,000 times more entertaining than the book itself.

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2007

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    A wonderful story, killed by poor writing.

    The fascinating story of Antonina, her husband and son, and their zoo in Warsaw in WWII is nearly ruined by the poor writing of this book. The author skips around in time and place, slipping in barely related anecdotes and reaching for unusual phrasing that distracts rather than enlightens (...she saw her son's face shriek"...). We are also held at a deliberate distance from Antonina's life, as we are told she would have done this, would have worn that (or maybe not). Repeated mention is made of Antonina being pregnant in the winter of 1942-3, but then she 'rises from her bed' with no further mention, either of a baby or its loss, as if nothing had ever happened. The story itself, however, is so compelling that I was willing to put up with the lamentable writing through to the end. Any credit for 'provocative', 'thrilling', 'touching', 'absorbing', and 'enlightening' go to Antonina herself: Ms Ackerman does not do her justice.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    scattered narrative

    Interesting story but it goes off on so many tangents its nearly unreadable.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    What a disappointment. This book certainly sounded intriguing an

    What a disappointment. This book certainly sounded intriguing and had all the potential for a great read, but fell far short. Tales of courageous individuals were so poorly written, that it was nothing but a struggle to get through this book. Reading a half page in Wikipedia would have been more interesting. It was a waste of time.

    The only reason I am giving two stars is because there were some golden glimpses into Antonina's personality that showed what a remarkable spirit she had.... Apologies to the "guests" and other survivors, who deserved to have their stories told much better than this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    A wonderful life story not told very well!

    I was looking forward to reading this book. However, I didn't get too far into it to realize this was not very good. There is no coherent timeline. The author jumps around with the story, and takes the story line down "rabbit trails" that are very unecessary to the overall story. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who, no matter how bad the story, I have to finish to find out what happens. I did, however, form a deep respect for Jan and Antonia for their actions in saving people and animals during WW II. I have read other reviews that have said this story would have been better served by another author. I agree wholeheartedly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Not a great read.

    parts were really good. other parts left the story line and went off on its own little side trip. Couldn't hold my interest.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    Do not recommend

    I found this book to be very dry reading, lots of unnecessary details about the animals traits, quite boring.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    I never did like Hawthorne

    I haven't finished this book yet, and it's going to be tough to do so. There is just too much flowery description that seems to have no point. The story is good, when there's action, the book is intriguing and well-written. It just doesn't hold my attention, especially in audio format, where I can't skim past the Nathaniel Hawthorney goodness.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Interesting But Disjointed - jpduffer

    This could have been a very good and powerful true story. However, it haphazardly jumps back and forth between the descriptions and welfare of the animals beloved by the family and the abomination of the Nazis toward the Jewish community.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    SLOW AND TEDIOUS READING

    This book has some very fascinating and stories in it and the characters are very likable. I love the historical value and admire the Zookeepers wife for writing down her experiences. HOWEVER there is so much tedious stuff that slows the story down and goes off on tangents that are not necessary to tell the story that it makes it difficult to read. I put it down frequently and walk away only to come back later and skim thru to a part of the actual story that is interesting.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Too many subjects

    Some interesting events but jumped around alot. Sometimes this was a history lesson sometimes anthroplogoy,biology amoung others. Too many chara's that didnt belong and confused me. Story could have been great.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Polish Underground in WWII

    Ackerman pulls from Antonina Zabinski's extensive memoirs of her experiences in World War II Poland and from her own research on the topic to tell the story of the hundreds of Jews that passed through this particular stop on the Polish Underground. Although this book is highly informative and at times extremely touching, I found it hard to feel fully engaged. I don't really know why this is; I'm extremely interested in the Holocaust and I'd read some great reviews on the book. Initially, I thought maybe I had hit some sort of wall and have read too many books on the subject, but then remembered that I had just recently read and loved a new book on one of the most famous figures in Holocaust history, Anne Frank. I felt that the book was slightly rambling and didn't really stay on topic as I expected it to. Ackerman's research certainly shines through, although at times her attention to detail is perhaps too great. I struggled to finish this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    a history lesson

    I didn't enjoy this book. The people are not explored...barely mentioned. The animals are better described than the people. A better editor might have made this a better read.
    True story but way too much history/facts and not nearly enough story! I felt I was in class again.....not enough discovery about the humans in this story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A beautiful story - poorly rendered

    As many other reviewers have noted, this is a powerful, true story that is marginalized by poor story telling. The writing is disjointed and consistently lacking enough depth to draw the reader into the lives of the characters. It is a showcase for the author's excellent research and at times poetic use of words rather than a focused, committed narrative that conveys the experiences, feelings and thoughts of the zoo keeper's wife. It is a shame because I think I would have liked her if I had been given the chance to get to know her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    Badly written

    I was very disappointed in this book.  I felt that the concept for the story is so interesting - it must be an excellent book, but the author goes off on tangents so many times that it interupts the floe of the story. The story is confusing and is not easily understood, and I will usually read just about anything and not complain. I wish that a good writer would rewrite this story and re-issue it. I looked forward to reading this book, but don't buy it.  Get it from the library before you spend any hard earned money on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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