With 17 out of 21 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars,
Jamrach's Menagerie was very well received by most BookBrowse readers!
Here's what they have to say:
I love love love this book! (Linda R). It is a wonderful novel written in beautiful, lyrical prose with a compelling story that has everything: love, deep friendship, and thrilling adventure (Alison W). It reads like an autobiography, the author is that convincing in her portrayal of Jaffy's odyssey. I will definitely be watching for other books by Ms. Birch (Steve B).
Many admired the imagery
This is a book of the senses. We hear, taste, feel, and especially smell Jaffy's unpasteurized life (Paula W). Told in the first-person, his story is of a life filled with wonder, exquisite joy, unbridled excitement, terror, brutal horror, survival, great sadness, love, and...
Beyond the Book
borrows from a number of historical events and people including:
Charles Jamrach's father was chief of the Hamburg River Police, a position that enabled him to establish himself as a dealer in wild birds and animals. When his father died around 1840, Charles moved from Germany to take over the London branch of business. Before long he was one of London's leading importers, breeders, and exporters of animals with both a shop, Jamrach's Emporium, and a menagerie.
In 1857, a Bengal tiger escaped from the Emporium, carrying off a young boy.