After loving the novel Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, I recently decided to give the CBS show a try. About halfway through the first season on Netflix, I am genuinely enjoying the show. Both book and show had me on the edge of my seat waiting and wondering for the next attack and next attempt at an explanation. There are, however, 5 major differences between the book and the show. Let’s check them out:
1. Jackson’s Beliefs
In the book, Jackson Oz (our hero) is the only one who has noticed the increase of animal attacks on humans: specifically mammal attacks. He loses his credibility in the professional world as he drops out of graduate school to pursue research on these attacks. Even after being attacked by a herd of male lions in Botswana, it takes him a considerable amount of time and energy to get people to believe him.
In the show, it is instead Jackson’s father who loses his credibility and sanity studying animal aggression. Even Jackson believes his father to be crazy. His father has recorded videos about his theories which are the only information Jackson has now that his father is dead and the theories seem to be coming true.
Periodically throughout the book, the point of view switches to that of an animal and the reader can see how its instincts have changed. While I understand that this would have been incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to do effectively in a show, it added a lot of depth to the novel that helped the reader understand what was happening.
In the book, Atilla is Jackson’s pet chimpanzee. Atilla is missing entirely from the show. I enjoyed Atilla’s character in the book because it was the only opportunity the reader had to view the world through the eyes of an animal with a positive human relationship. The other animals that gave first person accounts were zoo animals or wild animals.
As mentioned above, in the book, Jackson is working alone to collect evidence and is struggling to be seen as sane in the scientific community. Even after he pairs up with Chloe, many won’t take them seriously. In the show, Jackson is approached by a government official and asked to begin research on the animals. While the general public still does not believe them, they do have a support system.
5. Cause Of Attacks
Without giving away too much of the plot for either book or show, the cause explained in each case is very different. In the book, Jackson does not discover a cause until about three quarters of the way through the story. Unless they discover their current theory is wrong, I am about halfway through the first season and all evidence points toward the cause being the same thing one character suspected since the first episode. My main disappointment in this difference is that the cause in the book was no one’s fault—a series of factors happened to line up that no one could have predicted. In the show, there is someone to blame and it was predicted.
That all being said, I will continue to watch and enjoy the show. What are your thoughts on the adaptation?
YouTube Channel: WLOX-TV
Featured image via Yahoo