Friday Morning Bookclub

September 30, 2010

Ape House By Sara Gruen

Filed under: Ape House,Book Recomendations,Literary Tidbits — susanbright @ 10:38 am

I have been anxious to read Sara Gruen’s newest book ever since I read about it on one of the many online book sites I visit regularly. Gruen’s book Water For Elephants is a favorite among our book club members. After all, who could forget Jacob Jankowski and his life with the traveling circus during the Great Depression, or Rosie the elephant and her love for lemonade?

 There are no elephants in Gruen’s book, however this time there are bonobos. Bonobos are apes, walk on two legs and are as close to human as you can get. Isabel, a scientist works at The Great Ape Language lab and considers the  bonobos that live there family. She communicates with them through sign language and they answer to names like Bonzi, Lola and Makena to name a few. John is a reporter, assigned to do a story on the human like bonobos. When an explosion takes place at the lab which not only severely injures Isabel, but also  precipitates the sale of the bonobos , the helpless animals are imprisoned  in a building equiped with cameras and become the latest Reality TV phenomenon. As Isabel  sits riveted to the television, watching her family of bonobos eat M&M’s and greasy food she knows that she has to do something to save them and who better to help her than John.

 The bonobos were far more interesting than the people in this novel, although I now know more about the bonobos sex life than I ever needed to know. Apparently they are very sexual animals. According to Gruen, who researched bonobos for two years and actually visited the Great Ape Trust, many of the “conversations”  between the bonobos and humans in the book were real.  They really do communicate through sign language, play with toys and love M&Ms! Unfortunately the scenes describing the mistreatment of these animals and experiments on them in the name of science are also real.  Ape House is a quick, entertaining read. On a scale of 1-5, I give Ape House  3 1/2 omelets.


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