Bridgit's Reviews > The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale
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's review
Jul 08, 10

bookshelves: bea-2010, animal-narrators, big-honkies
Read from June 18 to 26, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

The title pretty much says it all. This is the story (the extremely well written story) of Bruno, a chimp living in a zoo in Chicago and how he 'evolved' from a normal every day chimp to a fluent, emotional, artistic, literate 'human'. The book begins with Bruno in jail, narrating his own biography to a journalist. He is a household name, but not in a good way. He tells of his travels through different paths,and how each helped him on his slow progression towards becoming a human. And that is the story in a super super small nutshell.

I freaking loved this book. HOWEVER, not everyone will. If you were uncomfortable with Lolita and didnt like it because of the extreme sexual dysfunction, you should totally avoid this book. Also, it is long. I am of the opinion that people need to recognize that going in to the book. To complain about a book being long when you knowingly picked up a 600+ page tome just seems silly. That said, here is why it was excellent.

The language and lyrical way that Hale writes this novel is just pure magic. Within the first 15 pages I was just plain giddy reading this. The phrasing, the imagery, they word choice - all of it is just so fresh and elegant. I am a prolific reader and have truly not read anything where the language rivaled this, with perhaps the exception of Nabokov.

The story is ingenious. The choice of making the chimp the first person narrator was very clever and is carried off very well. It invites you in and makes you relate to Bruno in a way that a third-person narrator never could. And this is very important. Because Bruno is not easily relatable. Bruno is a chimp that has sex with a human. And he tells you all about it. That it is not bestiality; Bruno has become a human. In the beginning, you are nauseated - and just a little bit intrigued. Which makes you disgusted with yourself and with Bruno. Yet you stick with him as he continues to discover himself and all of his humanness - his emotions, his intellect, his voice.

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a masterpiece, but it is a masterpiece that should only be read by an open, accepting audience. To read this with anything but an open mind is to do the book a disservice.
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Reading Progress

06/18/2010 page 30
5.0% "Just...Wow. If you were disturbed by Lolita, its time you met Bruno Littlemore. He's a chimp. He can talk. He's in jail for murder. And he's having a love affair with the Chicago zoo's primatologist.

Let that sink in.

And then let me assure you that this is some of the most incredible writing I have ever had the privilege of devouring. Still early, but BOY do I see why this has earned so much praise" 1 comment
39.0% "Yeah...not sure where to go with this one now. Reading about bestiality is really uncomfortable. Especially when it is really well-written bestiality." 4 comments
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