Amy's Reviews > Ape House

Ape House by Sara Gruen
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Aug 17, 2010

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Read from October 17 to 24, 2010

Isabel is an ape researcher who has devoted her life to working with the bonobo apes. The apes are like family to her and they use sign language and a linguistics chart to communicate what it is they need. Isabel & the staff accommodate to what the apes need from getting them lattes to filming their excursions for the apes to watch later. All that they do is meant to study & research the apes while keeping them in a safe environment, and learn about how they communicate with one another.

John Thigpen is a journalist who has been assigned the story of the bonobo apes and comes to document what the research lab is doing with them. He finds he is immediately drawn to Isabel and the apes and is excited to write a piece about them.

Shortly after his visit though, the ape lab is bombed and Isabel is injured and hospitalized after the bombing. She is in pain, but concerned more for the apes and their well-being. When news footage shows the apes hanging in the trees because they are so frightened, Isabel becomes increasingly agitated about where they will end up. Where they end up though, no one could have guessed.

After the apes are captured, they are thrown into a reality series home called, “Ape House” and documented twenty-four hours a day on television that can be viewed for the price of a membership. A seedy former pornographer producer has decided to exploit the apes as they subject them to ridiculous situations in order to make money off of them. Particular concentration seems to be on making the apes act or do things in sexual ways, in hopes to boost the ratings.

When John begins working as a reporter for a tabloid paper, after being let go from his last job, he is assigned coverage of the Ape House series. He is once again trying to find out information about Isabel and what happened at the lab that would have caused the explosion. He ultimately is faced with blowing the cover off of the whole situation and uses his investigative reflexes to find out who would have bombed the lab and how the apes came into the hands of this producer.

I was so excited to dive into, “Ape House,” and couldn’t wait to see what Sara Gruen came up with next. Although she spent years researching and spending a great deal of time with the bonobo apes, which was evident throughout the storyline of the bonobos, the story just wasn’t as solid or the characters as endearing as I had hoped. I was hoping for more from this book and there were too many characters and side stories that took away from the research and beauty of the story of the apes. I still breezed through the book and found it to be a quick read, but wished that the storyline didn’t have so many loose ends and unnecessary characters, focusing more on the storyline of the apes themselves.


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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sarah I didn't love this book as much as Water for Elephants - will be interested in your review!

Linda Curious to see what you think about this one! I was disappointed after "Water for Elephants"

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