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'Zookeeper's Wife' book to be discussed at Book, Play club

Rebecca Blackwood will be the guest speaker when the Lawton Book and Play Review Club convenes at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the McMahon Foundation building, 711 C.

Blackwood, who has reviewed books for the club in the past, will speak about "The Zookeeper's Wife," by Diane Ackerman.

The book tells the true story of a couple who meet in the run up to World War II and open a zoo in Warsaw, Poland.

Blackwood chose to review the book after a trip to Jerusalem with her husband last year.

"We went to the Garden of Remembrance where so many people are remembered for hiding and saving so many Jewish lives," Blackwood said. "After going to Israel I came upon 'The Zookeeper's Wife.' The book really found me."

The book is based on the diaries of Antonina Zabinski, wife of Jan Zabinski, curator of the Warsaw zoo.

"They were opening the zoo just a matter of months before war was begging to break out. Basically, what the book is about is how they survived during this horrible time, in Warsaw in a zoo. The tragedies that happened, the animals they had to give up, the animals that were slain, but also then using the ruse of the zoo to hide friends, coworkers and strangers through the underground," Blackwood said.

The story is especially dear to Blackwood, whose father served during the second World War.

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