Ape House by Sara Gruen

Just finished reading Ape House by Sara Gruen.  This is a story about Bonobo apes but also it’s a story of how these apes affect the lives of a number of people around them.

In the most part the story is about John and Isabel (although they aren’t a couple).  John is a journalist who frankly is not having an easy time with his work or relationship and Isabel is a scientist at the ape language lab who has very little people skills but relates in a brilliant way to the animals.  John and Isabel meet when John comes to check out the work of the lab and take a closer look at the bonobo apes.  Unfortunately, shortly afterwards an explosion at the lab changes all their lives in ways they couldn’t have envisioned. Although I did enjoy reading this book it didn’t have the same affect as Water for Elephants.

In this story we examine the issues of animal rights, although I’m not totally sure that the idea of reality tv is totally believable.  Despite that I thought it was a very readable story although it did lull in parts but, that being said, I didn’t second guess all the outcomes and it became quite convoluted towards the end which gave it a bit of a tense finale.  Plus, I think it manages to give a quite poignant message about the way in which animals are used that sticks in the mind.

On top of this we have a number of relationship issues and work politics, but the most engaging part of this story was the bonobos.  I loved reading about them and wished that we could have had more although I see that it was probably impracticable in terms of moving the story on.  Again, though, they did play a part towards the end but I won’t elaborate further.

Overall I did enjoy this read.  It was interesting and even though I struggled at first to see how we would be engaged it moved on quite quickly.  But, I did find it dragged a little in the middle and I thought to an extent it was a bit twee.

So, for me, not a bad read, and I would recommend.  But, not one that I love.

Rating -B

Ape House

Ape House

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