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Ape House by Sara Gruen - Book Review

Ape House by Sara Gruen is about bonobos, a language specialist working with the bonobos, and a reporter, John. They're all interconnected, but they all have separate stories. The bonobos are attacked and sold out from under Isabel, their caretaker and researcher.

The foreshadowing throughout the book is done so deftly I had to facepalm every time something happened that I should have known about. She hides the concepts well. But on the other hand, everything seemed so perfectly planned and coincidental that it was a little too perfect. I can imagine that she had charts laying out what order things needed to happen in and not leaving any loose ends.

As in Water for Elephants, the animals are as much characters as the humans, if not more. They have a depth that most people can't impart on an animal. There were times I was frustrated by what the bonobos did; I didn't just blindly love them. It's that range of traits that makes Sara Gruen's writing simply amazing.

The plot has a lot of twists. They aren't huge but they are big enough. I was very happy because I assumed the two main characters, John and Isabel, would have an affair because of a strong attraction and problems in their own lives. But she didn't ever bring sex into it, at least not in that way, and it made the book that much more wholesome. There is sex, even some monkey sex, but it's all natural.