This was a fun read. It raises important issues and is educational about apes who sadly have often been used as nothing more than “hairy test tubes”. Who knew that they could communicate, express their desires, learn language, and make requests? Who knew that there were different types of great apes, not just chimps? Bonobos are intelligent, sensitive creatures who need to be understood and protected particularly because it is so tempting for humans to exploit them. The story begins in a linguistic center for bonobos, where there is a brutal attack and the bonobos are stolen and put on a reality game show. There are, of course, lots of human/ape parallels, and the book includes a searing commentary on the human obsession with reality game shows.
I love the humour in Ape House. Reviewers have criticized it for being trite and cliche and for not being well written. But I actually loved the lighthearted feel, despite the fact that it deals with some very weighty issues. This book is a pleasure to read. Because of that it will be promoted and the cause will be championed. The hilarious opening quote comparison by Britney Spears and a chimp, gets the book started on just the right note.
Sara Gruen is a Canadian born author who is passionate about research for her novels and widely supports animals and wildlife. In fact, she was one of the few people allowed to visit at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa. They have an awesome website.
Great Ape Trust
Her other book ‘Water for Elephants’ was a smashing success, and I would be willing to bet was one of the biggest book club favourites ever. So if you haven’t read that one, you definitely have some catching up to do!
There’s a great little video to watch on Sara’s website, including lots of other reader features. Enjoy!