Some books make great movies. Others not so much. Most often, the movie is just fine...but the book just brings something else, something special. We Bought A Zoo by Benamin Mee is one of those books.
Benjamin Mee has always been adventurous. Despite a newly purchased home (read project) in France, he finds himself with the ultimate opportunity: to purchase, refurbish and save a failing zoo. His family (wife, children, siblings and mother) agree to the adventure. After a series of financial negotiations, licensing problems, and family conflicts they finally succeed and become the owners of the struggling Dartmoor Wildlife Park.
With no experience running a zoo, and the sad and untimely loss of his wife to cancer, Mee and his family must quickly educate themselves on zoo maintenance and finance and, more importantly, the care of exotic animals. He and his crew are determined to have the zoo up and running for the summer rush (a necessity to ensure they can continue to afford the zoo, the opposite of which is unthinkable involving lost jobs and "destruction" of any animal that might not be able to be placed elsewhere). Mee jumps in with both feet first and though he makes mistakes, he finds that using his heart first and his head soon after is usually the best route to success.
The movie, which I saw first, wasn't true to the book (from what I recall) and left much lacking. Mee is an animal supporter and plans to utilize the zoo not just as a source of entertainment, but also as an opportunity to provide a sanctuary to endangered animals. His book offers much information about the plight of endangered animals in our world, without being boring or preaching. I am very glad I took the time to read the book (as I usually am!).
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.