Sunday, September 26, 2010

(140) Ape House by Sara Gruen

Sara Gruen's new book Ape House was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I was really behind the times with Water For Elephants and I did not want to be the last one to read Ape House. I am so glad that I did not wait.

Earlier this Summer I read Lucy by Laurence Gonzalez and that was my first introduction into the world of bonobos. It was such a fascinating read for me that I was thrilled to discover that Ape House, was indeed another book about the creatures that are our genetic cousins.

Ape House starts out in Kansas, at a language lab where Dr. Isabel Duncan is working with six apes to increase their language skills and prove that they are just as intelligent as humans. The apes have mastered the art of sign language and can request a drink from Starbucks just as easily as your or I can. The progress that Isabel makes is fodder for supporters and opponents alike. It is a cold January day when it all blows up, literally. An extremist group has bombed the lab. Critically injuring Isabel and putting a stop to the life those six apes once knew.

The Bonobos have disappeared and it is several weeks later before Isabel discovers that her makeshift family has been sold to a pornographer set on creating the ultimate reality show featuring the sexuality that Bonobos are known for. Isabel enlists the help of some unlikely friends and will stop at nothing to ensure her family is safe.

It is so very obvious that Sara Gruen is a committed animal lover. All you have to do is read one of her books to know that her love for animals is vast. That love is evident in every word she wrote in her new book, Ape House. Having said that, I will say as a reader, I became so emotionally attached to the bonobos that there were some points in the story where I found it hard to continue reading for fear of what would happen next. Nothing was too graphic, I just let my imagination get ahead of the story and I was afraid I was right. I was not, but I needed to push through to figure that out.

I would not say that Ape House is better than Water For Elephants. I am not sure any book could be better than the book that became America's favorite book, but Ape House *is* a good book. It is well worth the read and you will find that Ape House will do for bonobo's what Rosie did for elephants. You will learn to love them!

2 comments:

Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Just posted my review of this one yesterday as well. I agree with what you had to say.

Wingnut said...

Well, I've been wondering what I should move on to when I'm done with Pillars of the Earth. Now I know!

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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