Wednesday, February 17, 2016

James Patterson's Zoo

I didn’t watch the Summer 2015 television series inspired by James Patterson’s novel Zoo. After reading Richard Adams’ novel The Plague Dogs and John Grogan’s Marley and Me, I know my heart cannot take lightly the harms humans do to the animals with which we share this earth.

I didn’t escape Zoo forever though. A member of a book club asked me to read it so I did--my first James Patterson book--one about the harms humans do to the animals with which we share this earth.

Patterson appears to be a master of story and pacing. Zoo moves quickly, in part because Patterson builds suspense well. Readers want to read on to know what happens next. The other reason the story’s pace is brisk is because most chapters are short. Readers believe they’re making great progress, and they are through 98 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue.
Photo provided by Al Griffin Photography;
steel sculpture by Mike Mistler, Lake of the Ozarks

The story appeals to readers because it’s timely. With contemporary references to 21st century lifestyles and to modern problems, Patterson casts a spell of verisimilitude. Our addiction to electronics and fossil fuels are an evil combination, it seems. The animal apocalypse links to climate change on pheromones.

Oz, the protagonist, has made it to Emerald City and pulled back the curtain to expose the truth about animal attacks on humans. Science and government dismiss him and deride his theories until the threat is inside their own homes or neighborhoods. With this plot thread, Patterson makes use of an archetypal conflict: one man against society.

Zoo is also a love story. Oz loses one love and gains another. His life grows richer even as it’s endangered by an animal apocalypse, but love restores Oz to a state of well being--not in circumstance but in hope. The animals may win, but man endures with a belief in tomorrows.

Reading Challenge:

Read James Patterson’s Zoo

Writing Challenge:

Write a letter in praise of Zoo; send it to James Patterson.