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Download We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever, by Benjamin Mee Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Mee Narrator: Gildart Jackson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Already a BBC documentary miniseries and excerpted in the Guardian, We Bought a Zoo is a profoundly moving portrait of an unforgettable family living in the most extraordinary circumstances. This touching memoir is now a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon.

When Benjamin Mee decided to uproot his family and move them to an unlikely new home—a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside where over two hundred exotic animals would be their new neighbors—his friends and colleagues thought he was crazy. But Mee’s dream was to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. So in 2006, Mee, his wife and two children, his brother, and his seventy-six-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who devised a long-term escape plan and implemented it.

The grand reopening was scheduled for spring, but there was much work to be done and none of it easy for these novice zookeepers. Tigers broke loose, money was tight, the staff grew skeptical, and family tensions reached a boiling point.

Then tragedy struck. Katherine Mee, Benjamin’s wife, had a recurrence of a brain tumor, forcing Benjamin and his two young children to face the heartbreak of illness and the devastating loss of a wife and mother. Inspired by the memory of Katherine and the healing power of the incredible family of animals they had grown to love, Benjamin and his kids resolved to move forward. Today the zoo is a thriving success.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Charming throughout and touching as well.”

    New York Daily News

  • “A book for any animal lover.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “What a great story…definitely the stuff of dreams.”

    London Free Press

  • “Fascinating…Moving, funny, and informative, [Mee’s] memoir is an amazing read.”

    Winnipeg Sun

  • “Mee writes movingly about his wife’s fatal illness, his children coming to terms with this, his sprightly old mum, and, of course, his two hundred wild animals in all their diverse glory.”

    Daily Mail (UK)

  • “Touching…Humorous…This engaging adventure will appeal to animal lovers.”

    Library Journal

  • “The emotional appeal of the zoo’s rescue is wonderfully limned in Mee’s practical, good-humored prose.”


  • “The process of getting to know the park’s two hundred animals, from flamingoes and monkeys to wolves, lions, bears, and jaguars, and of securing their care in the best possible captive environment, provided many heartwarming and heartbreaking moments…Replete with wry British perspective and facile rendering of the sights, sounds, and smells only zoos can provide.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Alison | 6/25/2011

    " I did not finish this because. I did not like how the author was writing this book. I thought it would be more exciting then the author wrote it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Veera | 6/24/2011

    " It was nice and interesting book :) Sometimes it was very confusing, but otherwise I liked it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by g | 6/11/2011

    " Overall, eh. But the parts about his wife made me cry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mia | 5/16/2011

    " The title is a bit misleading (there isn't much about the animals here, other than the efforts required to contain and accomodate them) but nevertheless it's a satisfying story about a dream fulfilled and made bittersweet by the author's loss of his wife to a brain tumor.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mee, a former newspaper columnist, is known for his humorous Do It Yourself column in the UK’s Guardian Weekend. In 2005 he published a collection of these articles in a volume entitled The Call of DIY: A Toolkit of Practical Wisdom. He holds a degree in psychology and spends his time studying animal behavior.