I finished a book recently that I haven’t been able to put out of my head. It’s called Ape House and it’s written by author Sara Gruen. You may know Sara from her extremely popular novel, Water for Elephants. I put off reading this book for as long as I could because I absolutely loved Water for Elephants, and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of comparing this new book to her old one. Well, I didn’t have to worry. Ape House turned out to be a wonderful story all on its own.
Here is a synopsis of Sara Gruen’s Ape House.
“Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships–but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.
Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn’t understand people, but animals she gets–especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she’s ever felt among humans…until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animals rights protesters outside the lab to see what’s really going on inside.
When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and “liberating” the apes, John’s human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he’ll risk his career and his marriage to follow. Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest–and unlikeliest–phenomenon in the history of modern media. Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them.
Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John; Nathan, a green-haired vegan; and a retired porn star with her own agenda.”
I found it interesting that in order to write this novel, Sara studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams so that she could communicate directly with the bonobos living at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa. She was actually able to communicate with the apes! Very cool…very cool.