Ape House

Ape House - Sara Gruen

Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships - but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets - especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans… until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside.When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and "liberating" the apes, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he'll risk his career and his marriage to follow. Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest - and unlikeliest - phenomenon in the history of modern media. Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them. Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John, a green-haired vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.Ape House delivers great entertainment, but it also opens the animal world to us in ways few novels have done, securing Sara Gruen's place as a master storyteller who allows us to see ourselves as we never have before. 


I came into Ape House knowing that it was not going to be another Water for Elephants (which I loved). I had seen enough reviews to know that. Still, I found myself drawn into the book...at least for the first half or so. Then, the whole thing fell apart.


I was really enjoying the main plot and the major characters. At first it felt as though that story was tight, and I was very eager to continue to read on to find out how the story was going to progress...but then I found myself lagging as subplots and minor characters littered the scene. It was distracting. I still kind of knew who the main players were, and the main plot but I was continuously torn to focus on subplots and throwaway characters who had no business being part of the story.


It was an entertaining read, and I enjoyed the book so it gained three stars from me so it managed to accomplish that...but I definitely was not impressed.