Saturday, May 20, 2017

Zookeeper's Wife: Diane Ackerman May 19 2017

Charles West Book Group
Third Friday Every Month
Place: Party Room, Floor 31
Time: 1:00pm     
(we have the room until 5 pm)

Friday, May 19 2017

Annette couldn’t join us today to facilitate the meeting, as her husband was taken ill. Presently, he is in hospital awaiting further tests. We hope the news is good, and we all send good vibes her way.

As usual, we took turns around the room giving our impressions of The Zookeeper’s Wife. Diane Ackerman is poet and writer of nonfiction. Those of us who had been expecting a story, felt that this had interfered with her telling of this tale. What was she writing? Parts were highly descriptive, if you like that sort of thing. Parts were instructive, if you were looking for information. Very little was an account of events or actions. The personalities of the participants, including the zookeeper’s wife, were under-developed. The material could have been very moving, it could have been treated as a thriller, but the author didn’t quite get it together. Some of us liked the book, but others didn’t like it at all.

An interesting discussion ensued which was instructive. We had all been looking for different things from the book, and this had influenced our attitude towards it. Some wanted a story, with action, and a stress on how horrific was the environment. They were disappointed. Some liked the poetic descriptive passages. Some liked the information that was offered from the diaries of the real zookeeper’s wife. Some found the book difficult to read, others enjoyed it.

Our Jewish members had been moved by the holocaust material. This prompted remarks that the material itself had allowed some of us to enjoy the book, even although it wasn’t too well written. Everyone was agreed that it had been a worthwhile experience to read the book, and see the film.

Annette wasn’t with us to receive our thanks, but these will be passed on to her.

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