Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zoo Story

By Thomas French

From the book jacket:

“Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo. Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo: an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco.”

I didn’t really know what to expect when I first began reading this book. It opens with the effort to transport a herd of elephants to the U.S. and place them at Lowry Park Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. It seemed that was going to be the basis of the book, but no … soon, I was learning about some of the other incredible animals at Lowry Park and the people who cared for them.

This book pulls no punches when it comes to the way the zoo is run. Although the majority of the people who care for the animals are obviously infatuated with them, there are those who are in it, obviously, for the job – as you will find in any profession.
But there is definitely a different sort of personality required to be able to spend your life taking care of wild animals and it’s a rare gift, indeed, for those who take their jobs seriously.

The story finally comes around full circle and we learn about the man in charge of the zoo. Many see him as ruthless, while others feel he puts his entire heart and soul into what will benefit the animals.

As the tale unfolds, it becomes up to the reader to decide if mistakes were made. It’s an interesting story and an important one.

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