The Dead Zoo, a novel in progress

History of the Book

The Dead Zoo is a curious book, and it grew from one even more curious, called Where’s the Rest of Me? This is an autobiography described as “by Ronald Reagan, with Richard G. Hubler” which of course means by Richard G. Hubler, with Ronald Reagan.

The book is full of fascinating things, as are so many political autobiographies. Being even shorter on self knowledge than the general run of humanity, politicians innocently betray themselves to the close reader at every turn.

This is not a matter for great political concern, as close readers are a statistically insignificant minority among voters. We few, however, learn from the Reagan-Hubner team that in Ron’s young life, “The rough reality of disorganized play had gradually invaded my dream world, supplanting relics and stuffed animals (my idol was the local taxidermist).”

This is the kind of odd fact that sticks in your mind, or anyway in mine. I kept thinking of Reagan and his boyhood idol in that small Illinois town, and after a while Ronnie turned into a sunny sprite of a teenage girl and Illinois into upstate New York and the Readers Digest into MTV and so on until after years of shape-shifting The Dead Zoo emerged as something else entirely.

I wrote it with little hope that it would find a publisher, and so far it hasn’t. A former editor of mine, Bill Grose, was good enough to read it in his retirement. He told me it was the creepiest book he ever read, which is praise worth having considering the sort of stuff he must have come across during a long career as editor-in-chief of Pocket Books.

Worth having, anyway, if indeed you set out to write a disturbing book. The Dead Zoo was not meant as comfort food. Lots of things disturb me, and I write about them to scratch my itch.

Like much of the other material on this site, The Dead Zoo is in PDF format and requires Acrobat Reader in order to be read on screen or printed. This software is available free from the site. The first three chapters are also free, as is the rest of the book. The chapters may be comfortably read on screen; however the complete book is in somewhat smaller type. You would do better to download the full manuscript and print it out as needed. The download takes about two minutes on my 33.6 modem; your mileage may vary.


Depending on your browser settings, the downloaded book will either show up in the browser’s window or somewhere else--probably your desktop. If it winds up in your browser window, however, it can disappear when you shut down. To save it, go to the Adobe toolbar. It has Adobe’s little red logo on the left. Click the next icon to the right, the one that looks sort of like a floppy disk. Then follow directions to save the file.

To download the full manuscript now, click The Dead Zoo. I would be glad to have your reactions to the book. My email address is below.

Copyright © 2004 by Jerome Doolittle