Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review of Ape House by Sara Gruen

Title: Ape House
Author: Sara Gruen
Published by: Bond Street Books
Pages: 306
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★

SummaryWhen six bonobos are kidnapped after an explosion at the Great Apes Language Lab and turned into reality T.V. stars against their will Isabel, a scientist who previously worked with the apes, will stop at nothing to get them back.  With the help of John, a reporter researching Great Apes, and Cecelia a spunky intern at the Great Apes Language Lab, race against the clock to save the bonobos. 

This novel captivated me from the beginning with the descriptive narrative about the Bonobo apes.  Gruen not only described their physical attributes and behaviors, but gave each of the apes a personality.  They were so realistic and it felt as it they were human beings with their comprehensive language skills and attitudes.  Gruen did an amazing job describing the little things such as their favorite foods (like m&ms and pizza) and activities.  As far as the characters went in this novel I loved the apes the best.

As I look back on the story I didn't really connect to any of the characters besides the apes.  They were so vivid and real to me that I formed an instant connection with them.  I loved learning about them and in fact researched them a little bit in between reading this novel.  I can't believe how sexual they are.  I didn't believe it when Gruen had this in her novel but one stop at youtube and I needed no further convincing.  

I did have a hard time at a couple places in the novel because of the cruelty and treatment of apes at different facilities.  I hate to think that those sections of the novel were realistic, but I'm sure I'm being naive. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and now I want to switch careers and go into something with Great Ape Linguistics.  (I'd never actually do this, but it's fun to imagine, right?)


  1. What a wonderful, insightful review. I think you're right and Gruen's strength really is with the animals. Good luck if you do decide to switch careers!

  2. Great review! I have heard things about this book, mostly very good. I have mixed feelings about reading a book about animal experimentation, so I'm not sure if I'll pick it up, but thanks for sharing a detailed account of this book :) Rae

  3. I am now really interested in this one! I have never read anything by this author, I'll definitely have to check out Ape House.

  4. The book sounds great. Not sure I could handle the cruelty. I can actually handle people hurting people more than defensless animals. Thanks for sharing though. Will check the book out.
    C.K. Volnek

  5. Oh the poor animals. I could not handle that. Everytime I hear about a dog or other animal dying or being mistreated I want to cry. But it's great that the ape's had such vivid personalities!

    Great review!

  6. I really want to read this. Glad to ready your review. New follower from Library Mosaic's Link Your Review. Hope you'll stop by and read mine as well.


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