Karen's Reviews > Lucy

Lucy by Laurence Gonzales
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's review
Aug 19, 2010

liked it

Flawed but fascinating. Primatalogist, Jenny Lowe, is forced to flee the Congo when war erupts. She tries to take her closest fellow scientist out with her but by the time she reaches the strangely reticient man who has kept his own research a well-guarded secret, he is already dead. Only his daughter, Lucy, has survived. Scooping up the scientist's notebooks, Lucy's outdated passport, and a single photograph, Jenny flees back to the States. Quickly Jenny becomes bonded to the strange, intelligent teenage girl raised in the jungle. As time passes, though, Jenny cannot shake off the sense that something is different about Lucy--very different. A reading of her father's notebooks reveals the truth--Lucy is not all human, but a genetic blend of human and bonobo chimp. Lucy, the hybrid human, is a "humanzee." Fearful for the girl's safety, Jenny tries to keep Lucy's heritage secret, but the United States is a much different kind of jungle, and Lucy's differences become ever harder to conceal.

A great premise for a book, but the novel did not always deliver. Clunky, cliche writing is impossible to ignore as are awkward emotional reactions (the scene in which Jenny learns the truth about Lucy is particularly awkward) and bulky passages of too much narrative. Much of this seemed like a first draft while other parts read smoothly. That aside, I found myself invested to the end. I loved the author's concept of The Stream, the connection between all living creatures. I also loved the inevitable unraveling of Lucy's secret. And in general, I liked Lucy. The ending, though, rang untrue for me and again was plagued by too much narrative condensed too quickly. Despite the book's flaws, I would still enjoyed it and recommend it.

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