Ape House

A Novel

Gruen, Sara

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Ape House
When a family of bonobo apes who know American Sign Language are kidnapped from a language laboratory, their mysterious appearance on a reality TV show propels scientist Isabel Duncan, together with reporter John Thigpen, on a personal mission to rescue them. An entertaining book that calls into question our assumptions about these animals who share 99.4% of our DNA.

Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0385523211
Branch Call Number: FIC GRUEN 2010
Characteristics: 306 p. ; 25 cm


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Dec 22, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is a somewhat disappointing sophomore novel, following Gruen's truly marvelous "Water for Elephants." The plot fails with some jarringly unbelievable contentions, but scores points for developing an awareness of the potential of animal intelligence. The bonobos, at least, are fascinating.

Oct 31, 2014
  • sillymelinda rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was an excellent book, as far as I read, which was about half-way through the book. Then I began to get nervous about what was going to happen to the Bonobos, and what the outcome would be for all of them. I was attached to the Bonobos and the other characters, and I just couldn't see it ending well for everyone. Also, I could see bad things coming for at least some of the Bonobos. Maybe it would be OK in the end, or somewhat OK, but I really didn't want to see bad things happen to these animals I had gotten attached to, and perhaps not all of them would have survived to the end. These aren't things I know, just things I worried about, and so I chickened out and returned the book. I almost never do this. For a person who can keep more distance from the characters, and not care so much, this would probably be a great book. Well written, and engaging, and enlightening. Maybe I will have the nerve to try and finish it someday!

Sep 10, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Working in the field of human-animal communication, Isabel Duncan, a research scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, develops a close relationship with her study group of bonobo apes. An explosion wrecks the research lab, causing her serious injury and leaving the apes vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. Amidst the tension and humour related in the quest for their safe recovery, Gruen exposes the true horror of the abuse of research animals.

Jun 19, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I wish I could say this book was great, and I had kind-of high hopes because of the unique plot but unfortunately that wasn't enough to save it for me and make me really like it. The transitions between scenes were not done well at all and there seemed to be too many sub-plot random events that had nothing to do with the overall plot and it really distracted away from it. I just know Gruen could have been done so much better.

Jun 09, 2013
  • druby rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I was reluctant to read this book even though it came highly recommended; the story just did not sound appealing at all. Also, I was not a fan of the author's other book "Water For Elephants" Well, turns out Ape House is a very good book after all. The characters are believable and the premise is quite unique. It also had a fair share of suspense thrown in for good measure.

Jul 27, 2012
  • zaire189 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

AMAZING NOVEL! I admit I was a bit hesitant to read it at first but I absolutely loved the book! JUSTICE was definitely SERVED! It was very touching to read about Isabel's undying devotion, love and care to the bonobos. It pained me to think though that such animal cruelty described in the book can possibly exist in the real world.With people like Isabel, I hope to see those animals facing these kind of circumstances will be soon safe and greatly cared for. Anyways, by the end of the book, I came to love each and everyone of the bonobos.

Jun 08, 2012
  • sayadeh rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I didn't know what to expect from this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was plot-driven and entertaining. The author's description of Amanda's struggle to find success as a writer on her own terms made me wonder whether she was drawing from her own experience. Good bedtime reading.

Mar 15, 2012
  • crayment rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Almost as good as Water for Elephants, but the bonobos are wonderful.

Jan 24, 2012
  • Amille05 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great light read! Read it in a couple of days and found myself excited to go home to read it!

Jan 11, 2012
  • azor rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Very different from Water for Elephants. Interesting idea but the story is not as captivating. i was very intrigued with the apes. However, it is not from their perspective as I was led to believe.Still worth reading.

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