Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review-Ape House, by Sara Gruen

Sara Gruen
Spiegel & Grau
September 2010
$26.00, 320pp.

Ape House, is not Water for Elephants for sure. The beginning moves along and I was hooked as the story of the fascinating bonobos fueled my desire to research more about them. However, I was disappointed in this story. I was anticipating so much more after falling in love with Water for Elephants. Ape House is a story stretch that didn’t make much sense.

The beginning is plausible and promising, I was engaged from the start. Isabel Duncan is a dedicated scientist and specialist who is renowned for her communication skills with the bonobos. When an explosion leaves her critically injured, no one seems to care about the bonobos health and well-being. Isabel is enraged to discover their escape and disappearance, especially since her fiance promised to take care of them. Unbeknownst to her they have ended up in the hands of profiteers who have one motive, making money. To Isabel, the bonobos are her family, and she can’t rest until she knows they are safe and protected.

The plot gets strange and frankly is too far fetched. Without giving away too much of the story, can you imagine a reality show with primates who communicate with sign language, order what they desire online and then the world tunes in to watch with fascination as their wishes come true? Seriously, I kid you not. I’m not a fan of any television, nor do I watch it, but this was beyond my limit of tolerance. I understand that this is meant to be a parody of life as we know it today, but honestly, it doesn’t work.

Sara Gruen is a fine writer with a passion for animal rights. Her ability to bring forth stories about the plight of these animals should not be minimized. With that said, there is an endearing element to her novel Ape House. The reader learns about the captivatingly, often comical, and surprisingly communicative bonobos. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with one of these amazing apes. I encourage you to go to her website and read about her interest in animal rights. She has obvious passion for protecting animals and has given them voice through her storytelling.

Sara Gruen Website

Disclosure: This book was given to me by the publisher.
Regardless of how I obtain my books, all reviews are my honest and unbiased opinion.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].


Literary Feline said...

I am sorry this one wasn't better. I still have yet to read Water for Elephants but hope to do so around the time the movie is available on DVD.

wisteria said...

LT...I was really hoping for more. Water for Elephants is an amazing book. I can't wait for the movie. I saw previews at the movies last week. The trailer looked good.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked Ape House, but Water for Elephants was so much better for me.