Scientist Isabel Duncan is employed at the Great Ape Language Lab, a university research facility where the communication skills between bonobo apes and humans are studied.
Isabel developed her love for the bonobo apes when she was a student. Now she shows reporter, John Thigpen, how the apes respond to the ASL (American Sign Language). John is appreciative and immediately becomes fond of the apes.
The university didn't want the protesters or the possibility of other violence so they sold the apes. The person who purchased them was formerly a pornographic film maker. He makes the apes a part of reality TV and it becomes a huge success as viewers watch the apes communicating and having sex and ordering food from their computer.
Isabel is devastated at the loss of the apes. The bonobo apes are the closest animals to humans. They show their feelings toward her and Isabel responds as if they were members of her family.
As characters, John and Isabel are painstakingly well drawn. We see what is missing in their lives and believe that if they can care enough about these animals, then they can care about others and in John's case, possibly to start his family.
The story is intriguing and believable. The apes are as innocent as children and the reader is drawn to them as they are to John and Isabel. We share the apes pain and loss and with John and Isabel, we share their hope of rescuing these apes from being exploited.
This is a novel about love, devotion and faith. The reader will surely enjoy the book and think about it in the future.
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Right before I went on tour for Water for Elephants, my mother sent me an email about a place in Des Moines, Iowa, that was studying language acquisition and cognition in great apes. I had been fascinated by human-ape discourse ever since I first heard about Koko the gorilla (which was longer ago than I care to admit) so I spent close to a day poking around the Great Ape Trust’s Web site. I was doubly fascinated--not only with the work they’re doing, but also by the fact that there was an entire species of great ape I had never heard of. Although I had no idea what I was getting into, I was hooked.
During the course of my research for Ape House, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Great Ape Trust--not that that didn’t take some doing. I was assigned masses of homework, including a trip to York University in Toronto for a crash course on linguistics. Even after I received the coveted invitation to the Trust, that didn’t necessarily mean I was going to get to meet the apes: that part was up to them. Like John, I tried to stack my odds by getting backpacks and filling them with everything I thought an ape might find fun or tasty--bouncy balls, fleece blankets, M&M’s, xylophones, Mr. Potato Heads, etc.--and then emailed the scientists, asking them to please let the apes know I was bringing “surprises.” At the end of my orientation with the humans, I asked, with some trepidation, whether the apes ...