Maggie Campbell's Reviews > Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods
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's review
Jul 08, 11

bookshelves: psychology-peace-psych-politics
Read in June, 2011

"It's hard to live with someone you haven't forgiven. It's like a cavity in my tooth that I can't see but I keep pushing at with my tongue. I'm afraid it will crack but I can't leave it alone."

"...Because resentment and anger are what you old on to when you have all the time in the world."

"The only way love endures is because of one simple gift. Forgiveness."

"We all carry our own tales of violence. The distant war going on over there is not so different from the war we fight here. I don't know why some people, like the Mamas and Suzy, can survive a war and still find enough joy to laugh as if their whole life has been blessed."

"'If you have a strong sense of who you are and what's important, you can live through it. People like me, we never knew who we were, so we became the war. And because I was the war, I could never let it go.'"

"If there are those you love, whoever or wherever they are, hold them. Find them and hold them as tightly as you can. Resist their squirming and impatience and uncomfrtable laughter and just feel their hearts throbbing against yours and give thanks that for this moment, for this one precious moment, they are here. they are with you. And they know they are utterly, completely, entirely...Loved."

"All these precious traits we cling to as uniquely ours- empathy, altruism, morality- they have to come from somewhere. They didn't just appear as soon as the first human plopped out of his or her mother's womb. Evolution is a journey."

"In the end, if fate is just a roll of the dice and you could be born anywhere, to any family in the world, if you look at the odds, who would you rather ne? Most of the time, bonobos have no hunger, no violence, no poverty. And for all our intelligence, all our things, bonobos have the most important of all possessions- peace."

"In return, the bonobos will share their secrets. Schoolchildren learn that when bonobos are get angry, the hug. Women hear that together, bonobo females are strong. Men understand that it is possible to live a life without war."
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