Patrice Sartor's Reviews > Ape House

Ape House by Sara Gruen
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's review
Apr 24, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: animals, bonding-through-trauma, ethical-dilemma, love-sex-romance
Read from April 20 to 24, 2012

I liked Water For Elephants, and I like monkeys, chimps and apes, so I grabbed this audio CD without having any other facts or information other than what I listed. Perhaps I should have read some reviews first, or maybe even read the summary on the box.

With this audio CD, unlike the last several I've listened to, I experienced no weird technical difficulties or anomalies. The discs were all appropriately named, and the author and title were properly labeled, as were all of the tracks. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy some of the reader's voices, specifically the women. His voice for Celia came off as more Valley Girl than the edgy, possibly emo and/or gothy, free-spirited young person that I envisioned. Both Isabel and Amanda were read in the same whiny, helpless, utterly dependent tone of voice. There were one or two scenes where the woman (women?) were supposed to be angry, and what came out just sounded laughable and out of character. I did like Paul Boehmer's rendition of the Russian lady. It was amusing, well-done, and even allowed me some suspension of disbelief. Granted, I sure cannot effectively mimic male voices to much degree of success, so I appreciate the difficulty in the task. I'm just saying, because of how Boehmer read these two women, that I did not like either of them.

On to the story. I wish the book focused more on the bonobos and their interactions (I had no idea they were so into sex! Fascinating!). The primates are mostly an afterthought, though, merely providing a catalyst for the Bad Guys to act, the Wacky Protesters to protest, and the Caring and Concerned Main Characters to unite for a cause. The characters are somewhat flat, hackneyed, and eye-rolling.

My favorite sections were when the bonobos were in the Ape House, a reality TV show focusing on everything they do. What an entertaining idea! I also liked any scene where John Thigpen was either by himself, with the Russian woman, or not with a main character. He was the best human in the book. It is possible I would have liked this book better had I read it instead of listening to it, though I am not going to test the theory.

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