Title: Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of the American Dream
Author: Carson Vaughan
Publisher: Little A 2019
Rating: 3/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Library Love
Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one—where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned, monuments to a Great Plains town that never flourished. But for nearly twenty years, they had a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy. And it all began with one man’s outsize vision.
When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Dick’s devotion to primates didn’t die with her. He returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, in the bed of a pickup truck and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.
While this is an interesting story, I feel like the execution just depressed me. The various narratives from the parties involved left me confused and annoyed. No one seemed willing to take any responsibility for their actions. And the chimpanzees paid the ultimate price. I came away from this book really not liking anyone involved. Beyond the actual story, there were times that I was confused by the writing style. Not really a fan.
Next up on the TBR pile: