Robert E. Kennedy Library 's Reviews > The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale
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's review
Aug 12, 2011

really liked it

For anyone who's met the gaze of a primate and felt unsettlingly seen, Bruno won't be that big of a leap in imagination. Rescued from the zoo, he becomes part of a language study at the University of Chicago. Left alone for the first time in a cage at night when the primatologists go home for the evening, without the comfort of his family, he flies into a rage and shreds the blanket left for him, hurling food everywhere. But he soon makes friends with the developmentally disabled custodian who cleans the lab at night. Ironically, this is the first human he truly communicates with, not the scientists who drill him on words all day.

When he proves himself an unusually quick study, Lydia, the scientist working with him removes him from the lab environment, and takes him home with her to live. From that point on, there's no turning back: Bruno has crossed the line dividing animal subject from pet/friend/self-imagined peer.

Hale has created a truly original character in Bruno. If he'd made him overly sweet, the book wouldn't have been nearly as effective. Bruno has enough ego to convince us he's as human as we are, but not so much that we don't care what happens to him.

Reviewed by Kennedy Library staff Jan K.

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