Ape House by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was not what I expected. It started out like it was going to be a very serious pro-animal, scientific rant. No, really, that's what I thought it was going to be - for about the first four pages. There was humor, lots of humor, there were bombs and strippers and a meth-lab dog and monkey sex - I mean apes. This was a great, fast-paced story. As always, I loved the author's writing. It was so easy to fall into the story. She made even the most ridiculous series of events seem so realistic that I found myself thinking "yeah. Yeah, that could totally happen." In some ways the way the plot unfolded and interconnected reminded me a lot of the early days of the Stephanie Plum series. (That's meant to be a compliment.) I really enjoyed the alternating POV's - from a journalist, the apes' caretaker and occasionally the apes themselves.
Synopsis: 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 animal 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, a green-haired vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.
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