Monday, January 17, 2011
Ape House by Sara Gruen - A Review
Entertaining and eye opening
The inhabitants of the Great Ape Language Lab are amazing. Like other bonobos they are capable of reasoning, relationships and communication but unlike other apes this group knows American Sign Language and interact with another species; humans. One of their favorite humans is Bell.
Bell, Isabel Duncan, is a scientist at the Language Lab. The bonobo family feels like Isabel’s family. Even though severely injured in an explosion at the lab her main concern is her ‘family’. At first the explosion is thought to be set by animal rights activists whose misguided thinking leads them to feel they are freeing the apes. The theory of animal rights activists being responsible for the explosion crumbles when the bonobos appear on their own reality TV show.
John Thigpen is a reporter who meets Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbonga, Jelani and Makena, the bonobo family, earlier on the day of the explosion. The apes have to agree to the meeting-their feelings and wishes are always considered-and he prepares by bringing them 'surprises'. He is touched and astonished by these creatures who are able to cross-over between the species and he also becomes a new favorite of the apes. John follows the of the explosion and the disappearance of the apes risking his career to find the truth and recover the apes.
Ape House is entertaining and eye opening. Sara Gruen has written another bestseller and delivers it to us with insight, compassion and the skill of a natural storyteller. She has guided us into a world where we will never again think of other species as just unfeeling test tubes.