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Ape House: A Novel...

Title : Ape House
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385523219
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 306 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ape House Reviews

  • Elyse
    2019-01-03 17:41

    Another book I'm sure I reviewed... lost also? I had bought this book when it first came out in the Chicago airport. Given it was the 2nd book after Water For Elephant....I remember--liking it --- but not 'wild' about the overall book. It does pull on your heart strings as you get towards the end. Plus... my admiration for the authors research and love for these animals is what I do love.

  • Fabian
    2019-01-11 16:56

    I don’t seem to recall why I was such a “Water for Elephants” hater in the first place. But this fact hadn’t come up until I had read the tepid, all-too-unspecial “Ape House”—an animal lover’s dream but a literary person’s annoying albatross. I picked it up because after completing my thesis defense, there was nothing for me to do but to stare out at the open springtime air—I was that tired! & perhaps some cool short novel would then be the antidote to such heavy reading and self editing—of cranial activity that had gone, frankly, a bit haywire. But I REALLY was disappointed—this lacks all of “Elephant”’s elusive... bravado. Its epic quality & its bittersweet lovestory charm are completely absent from “Ape House.” The climax occurs without the reader even once noting it—but like every minor novel, you know that the last ten pages are written exclusively for the tying up of loose ends. Lame! Not even Rob Pattinson or Reese Witherspoon are foolish enough to fall for this one!

  • Timothy Hinkle
    2018-12-27 16:01

    I started this book under the impression that it was a piece of capital L Literature, but it turned out to be more along the lines of one of the earlier Anita Blake books with bonobos replacing the vampires. It took me a while to get into, but eventually I started to enjoy reading this. It's fun and silly and things explode. Despite what the jacket blurbs say, it's unlikely to change your life (unless you're the sort of person who sees an episode of Scooby-Doo and immediately starts a charitable organization for the treatment of ghost-related trauma in Great Danes). It boggles the mind that the author felt she had to do research on apes to come up with any of this.

  • Linda
    2018-12-31 22:56

    Sara Gruen is a wonderful writer and I truly enjoyed "Ape House". I previously read "Water for Elephants" and was eager to read her newest book. I loved "Water for Elephants" as it was a very well done and I learned a great deal from the book. I thought that I might be somewhat disappointed in "Ape House" because I found "Water for Elephants" so captivating. Ape House did not disappoint me, but "Water for Elephants" continues to be my favorite of Gruen's books.I continue to be appalled and disappointed that humans can be so cruel and so greedy as some of the characters developed in this book. Unfortunately those type of individuals do exist. This book engaged me from the beginning. There are vivid descriptions of the apes, their language capacity, their family structure and their ability to understand and communicate with humans as well as with each other. The book has many well developed characters including writers, reporters, scientists and unethical film makers. Some you really feel a connection with, some you don't, and a few you really dislike.As the story develops I learned many things about apes and their family interactions. In this story they were portrayed as much more caring and compassionate than their human counterparts and the incidents that Sara describes, both funny and sad, left me wanting to read more. Many of the glimpses of the ape's daily life were amusing and heartwarming, and I will never think of an M&M or a cheeseburger the same way after reading this book. As any of the books written about human exploitation of animals, there are difficult parts to read but it was well worth the time and emotional struggle. I recommend this book as a very fine read.

  • Rita
    2019-01-06 18:46

    It pains me to not have liked this book.Sara Gruen obviously is a champion for the humane treatment of animals and it shines through in her fiction. It seems like she'd be a witty and kind and smart person, someone I'd really love to hang out with.This book, though, was not a great read. And, I hate to say that.In one of the previous reviews on this page, someone said that maybe she should have written a memoir about her experiences with the apes instead of trying to make a fiction story out of it, and I think that would have been a great idea. This story really did push the main idea--the apes--into the background, spotlighting instead too many superficial and stereotypical characters. The characters were flat and cartoonish at times, some of them making you wonder why they were even in the book at all. The situations followed almost soap-opera lines, with jack-in-the-box SURPRISE antics around every corner, and too much serendipity to be believable at all. We've seen what she can do as a writer in Water for Elephants. I hope she can get back on top with her next book, because this one, sadly, was a dud.

  • EZRead eBookstore
    2018-12-20 20:55

    I saw Sara Gruen speak about “Ape House” at the BEA before the release of the book. The woman is 199.99% crazy for bonobos, after having spent time in a language research center for apes in Iowa. Most of the cute short stories that she told about her own adventures showed up in the book, which begs the question; why didn’t she just make this nonfiction and bypass all the silliness? “Ape House” is stuffed with dues ex machinas, goofy coincidences, and caricatures right out of a high school improve show. She put on her clown mask and did the funky chicken trying to explain a serious issue; which is why “Ape House” is a book with the right idea, wrong genre.Our hero John Thigpen is taken aback when he is assigned a story about a language center with bonobos. These apes practically run the center, and live an active life where they use surprisingly sophisticated ASL to speak with their trainers. Isabel Duncan, our heroine, describes the bonobos as ‘like family’. The drama here occurs of course when the lab is blown up and the bonobos are ‘sold’ to a porn filmmaker looking to make a reality show about the sex-loving apes. Of course, John and Isabel aren’t having any of it, and go on a strange adventure to save the apes.The problem is that the adventure feels too strange. The goofiness of the characters they encounter (meth lab owners, stereotypical Russian porn stars, green haired vegans shouting ‘meat is murder!’, etc.) feel like a large skit that has nothing really to do with the bonobos or character development. The paternity scares, random drama with spouses, and commentary on beauty standards in Hollywood all distract the readers from the focus of the story. Gruen seems to want to share how intelligent and beautiful bonobos are, but this is completely lost. So lost, that she has to include a three page afterword that explains all of the ape behavior in the book was based on real ape behavior. Huh? Wuh? Just make a touching memoir about your real time at the language lab, and I would have been pumped!Like a band’s so-so sophomore album after initial success, Gruen’s “Ape House” needed a lot more work before it hit the stands. As in, it needed to be deleted and then rewritten using my expert suggestions. Not an awful read, mind you, but not as rich as “Water for Elephants”. Come on Sara, I know you know better!EZ Read Staffer Jenifer

  • Edward Lorn
    2019-01-12 21:51

    DNF @ 203 pages out of 306. I'm only rating it because I made it over halfway. The ending could blow my mind, and I still couldn't forgive its bloated-ass middle.Do you know how fucking boring a book has to be for me to put it down past the halfway point? The past fifty pages have been nothing but he went here and did this and people explaining why the show is failing. All my fucks are bottle up and nary a drop to drink.Everything interesting in this book is described better in the synopsis than in the actual book. Better that you should imagine how cool a book about a reality show involving sexually adventurous great apes would be than to actually read this tedious piece of author masturbation. Loads and loads of character descriptions about people not essential to the scene much less the plot. Loads of food porn and exposition. Not even in the same country as Gruen's first novel, Water for Elephants. This book is in Bullshitistan, bordering on Fucksville, population zero.On top of all that, not one of the characters is likable to the point I want to see them succeed or dislikable to the point where I want something bad to happen to them. The best part of the book is the apes, but they've only have 20-maybe-30 pages of screen time, as it were. In summation: I'm done. The second chapter was damn well written, and then it was all downhill after that. This book writes so many checks the author cannot cash. Great concept ruined by meandering prose from someone who obviously likes to read her own rambling thoughts. This one's getting traded in.Final Judgment: I'd rather go to the zoo and have apes fling shit and semen in my face.

  • Christopher
    2018-12-20 23:00

    The novel lacked anything resembling character development and has a bumbling, senseless plot. It reads like the manuscript of a first-time novelist; in fact, I've read better manuscripts and self-published novels than this highly-acclaimed author's third book. If you love Sara Gruen or are masochistic, pick it up and brace yourself.

  • Janelle
    2019-01-09 17:42

    I picked up an advance reader's edition of this at the ALA conference this summer (2010). This is Sara Gruen's much-awaited second fourth! novel - her Water for Elephants did very well (and the copy I recycled at my book group's holiday book exchange was much fought over).The "ape house" has many meanings. On the surface, it's a community of bonobos living in a university research facility. The bonobos are highly intelligent and, in the end, far more human than many of the humans in the book. I don't want to put a lot of plot points in this review, so I'll write no more about that. Suffice it to say, this was a pageturner. I raced to finish it very late one night (far later than you'll usually find my light on!).I'm not sure this quite makes the "literary fiction" cut for me. (Another reviewer uses the word "commercial" and I think that's quite apt.) The language wasn't particularly special, and there were some pretty flat characters (a couple were downright stereotypes). But I enjoyed it a lot. I think I'll hold on to this copy and wrap it up for this December's book group exchange!

  • Rachel
    2018-12-30 21:42

    I was so prepared to love this book and, only 30 pages in, I thought I did. I got sucked into loving those bonobos so fast, and caring about what happening to them, Isabel, and John. Let me tell you - it didn't last long. Well... let me correct myself: My love for the PEOPLE didn't last long.The rest of what I have to say is an extremely angry, spoilerific rant, which I pray you read if you think this was a book that was worth your time.(view spoiler)[For one, I was immediately angered by this author's lack of understanding about the world of academic research. She clearly has no idea what this field is like. I just finished a graduate program in psychological research, and you wouldn't believe the safeguards put in place when it comes to consenting human subjects. When it comes to children, and then animals, the guidelines increase tenfold. It's extremely difficult to get funding and, when you get it, you have to keep extensive documentation about where the funds are going and why they have to go there. To run a research facility for the bonobos described in this book, it would have required just an ungodly amount of money, limitless benefactors, and tremendous documentation and justification. It would be impossible for the bonobos - property of the university and whose care was probably paid for by a very generous grant from a research foundation - to just to be shipped off and sold quietly overnight. It's just not possible, it would never have been allowed, and that break with reality is where this book tumbled downhill for me.Another thing that I found ridiculous was Gruen's clear dislike (and again, clear lack of knowledge) of Los Angeles. I grew up in LA, and my Dad worked at Paramount for nearly 20 years. Are the people shallow? Absolutely. Are they what Gruen makes them out to be? Absolutely NOT. I spent most of my childhood at movie studios and there are plenty of down-to-earth people who don't get pressured to get plastic surgery, especially people who have no reason to be on camera! That whole LA-bashing deal with Amanda was so fake, and came from some Hollywood-hater who has spent zero time there and has no idea what hard-working and genuine people there are behind the scenes of so much of the entertainment we enjoy. Again, her anti-Hollywood bias was pretty clear when she painted Faulkes as a villain so maniacal and desperate to make a reality TV show about bonobos that he bombed a respected research institute to get his hands on them. If they're so easy to get at other commercial research facilities, why not purchase them legally??? If Faulkes is the king of the LA porn industry, he's certainly not hurting for money, so why create the show in the first place? All of her reasoning was ass backwards. On wanting or not wanting to have children: Seeing a bonobo hold her newborn baby on TV is not going to make someone who just doesn't want kids suddenly want to have kids. That's a really cute idea, but it's laughable. John and Amanda were clearly idiots for not discussing the whole "having kids" thing earlier, and John clearly didn't want them. Ever. That whole Pinegar deal... a) It was unnecessary and I never cared, despite Gruen trying to hint that it was important and b) it seemed thrown in at the very last minute just to make it seem like John would plausibly want to be a father, and to just make his life even shittier before it was suddenly wrapped up with a neat bow and made wonderful at the end (since he really really deserved it after all he went through!). As if. Guy didn't want kids, his wife does. They should split and live the lives they actually want.John and Amanda's extremely unhealthy relationship was another thing that confused and upset me. I'm not sure there was one reason I could see that Amanda and John would want to have kids together or even be together (except that, I guess, Amanda is a fox in bed and is still super hot and gorgeous and makes other men look at her, despite being almost 40. Oh, and is willing to cook him whatever he wants, no matter how much of a jerk he is). The whole deal where Amanda made an amazing dinner in a HOTEL ROOM and all John did was say that his "favorite part" was missing... I would SLAP HIM if I were her. And all that going on and on about their terrible parents, which really only served to be frustrating and didn't actually impact the story in an way... just... GAG ME. Did anyone see a point in mentioning how extremely messed up their parents and their relationships with their parents were? Did that serve one single purpose, except to make both of them look ever more spineless and pathetic?Another thing: Why blow up the meth lab across from John's hotel? Well, as you can see from John's critique of his wife's writing, a good novel has explosions. So I guess Gruen thought she should take some of her own advice and add an extra explosion, since the one explosion that had zero basis in reality or logic wasn't enough. It was AWFUL. I am truly baffled by the praise this book has received. I finished it because I wanted to see the bonobos get a happy ending, which thankfully they did, but it wasn't even worth it. In the end, I was so sickened by the plot that came from a writer with zero real-world experience with the subject matter and setting and was filled with "twists" and "life-is-hardness" for no other reason than to show that people, as a species, suck. But then, OF COURSE, it got wrapped up with a neat bow and everyone got a happy ending. Because life is only sucky and people only have problems until Gruen gets to her Epilogue. (hide spoiler)]

  • Bookmarks Magazine
    2018-12-24 17:48

    Overall, critics considered Ape House a dissatisfying follow-up to Water for Elephants. With its evocative Depression-era setting and unforgettable characters, Water continues to enthrall legions of fans. Unfortunately, some reviewers found Ape House's intriguing premise overshadowed by poor editing, a "silly story," and "trite characters" (Washington Post). Others felt that Gruen glossed over key issues. A few did enjoy Ape House, and lauded Gruen's "knack ... for creating distinctive animal characters" (Boston Globe). The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines inspired Ape House, and the novel clearly shows Gruen's fascination with, and respect for, bonobo apes. For readers interested in the subject, and with slightly altered expectations, the novel might be worth a peek. Sadly, though, general readers should look elsewhere. This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-12 21:05

    Solid three and a half stars, but I'll round up since I read this book in less than a day (and a busy one at that), and there are very few books that make me drop everything to read these days. I've read all three of Gruen's previous books, and enjoyed them all, though Water for Elephants was by far the most accomplished of the three. When I first heard the premise of this book, I was a little skeptical. It sounded forced. It's not. Everything about the Bonobos seems real and possible. In all of her books, Gruen has drawn animals well. As with Water for Elephants she has also done meticulous research.The human characters are more hit and miss. The main characters have realistic motivations and convictions, and act accordingly. The peripheral characters fare less well; several seem almost cartoonish. The bad guys lack only mustaches to twirl. Similarly, the main plot is compelling, but there are several additional threads - particularly one involving a pizza place - that seem completely superfluous, and others that skirt the edge of satire (protesters from the Eastborough Baptist Church) but don't fully commit. The journalist protagonist's wife is trying to get a book published, but he admits to himself that her first book didn't have enough explosions and mayhem for him. I wonder if that's a meta-commentary on Gruen's own career?Despite its flaws, this is an enjoyable book and a breezy read.

  • Lisa Nocita
    2019-01-02 19:03

    Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants was a favorite. So, I was eager to read her next novel, Ape House. I gladly plunked down the cash for a hardback edition. I would like a refund! The premise starts off engagingly enough. Fueled by a personal interest, Gruen decided to research and write about Great Apes and language acquisition and cognition. Not only can apes learn sign language, but they can use it in novel ways to communicate specific needs and wants apart from the learned sequences. And, apparently, they transfer this knowledge to their offspring. Gruen says in her author's note that she spent at least two years researching and studying the topic. She even visited the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa upon which the apes in the novel are modeled. She says it was a profound, life-changing experience. So, it is with complete incredulity that she then wrote the novel she wrote taking these intelligent creatures and turning them into pseudo porn stars on a live, streaming reality show on an internet site. I am not kidding. They frolic and order things they want off the internet. Isabel Duncan, not Dr. Duncan, is in charge of six apes (bonobos) at a cognitive language lab set in Lawrence, Kansas at the University of Kansas. She is a scientist or a linguist, perhaps. Problem number one. Those not from the midwest may not be the wiser in this minor detail, but there is no way that such a program would be associated with the University of Kansas, even with an Applied Linguistics program. Secondly, when the facility is bombed, in theory by eco-terrorists who want the apes freed, the Chancellor and the director of the program make an underhanded, lucrative, morally debased decision to sell the Apes to a Larry Flynn-type pornographer. I think not! And third, when Isabel comes home from the hospital, presumably located in Lawrence, she takes an elevator to her apartment. Unless she lives in a dormitory or a hotel, not very likely in Lawrence. This all unfolds in the opening chapters of the novel, leaving my credulity stretched very thin and my willingness to play along quite dampened. Why set the novel in a factual setting if you can't be bothered to research the setting? Why not create some fictionalized midwestern location? Why not use the real place in Iowa? I suspect that she was itching to find a way to throw in a thinly disguised Fred Phelps and his Westborough Baptist crazies out of Topeka into the storyline somehow. But this is frail justification for making such an obvious stumble in developing the setting. The characters in the book are not well developed and are not likeable. Likeable characters will win you some reader forgiveness. Sadly, only the apes in the novel win my affection. Isabel Duncan, scientist, is whiny and useless. She displays an unusual lethargy and lack of intelligence. John Thigpen, unable to withstand the journalistic decline in print is downsized and finds himself out of a job when his breaking story on ape cognition is muscled in on by a more zealous and less scrupulous reporter. Thus reduced, he finds himself writing copy before resigning himself to the tabloid industry. Add in his attractive but spoiled, whiny, insecure wife, a cast of goofy, nerdy crusaders, a blackhearted, unscrupulous director/fiancee, and other unmemorable characters, and you have the makings of an entirely forgettable novel. The suspense and intrigue is contrived and fails to elicit even one heart thumping minute. Instead, I found myself flipping the pages in anticipation of the end. Unfortunately, consigned to a long car trip with no other reading material at hand, I forced myself to carry on. It's a rather ridiculous and preposterous set up complete with Russian strippers, meth lab explosions, a cute but misunderstood dog, and, don't forget the teeming protesters, "many of whose issues had only tenuous connections with apes." (p.160) I say much like the novel's connection with Gruen's so called research. Will the apes be saved? Yes. Do we learn more than we want to know about primate sexual habits? Yes, in a really gratuitous, non-interesting manner(pp. 176-177). Do I recommend this novel? NO. In fact, the more I think about it the less I like it!! So many directions it could have gone that would have been fascinating. And what happened to character development? There's so much to dislike. I kept asking myself if I was reading the same author whose work I admired previously? Such a big disappointment. Completely unremarkable and unlikeable for this reader.

  • Heather
    2019-01-13 20:48

    I would like to thank Bridget for helping me enjoy this book. Bridget, you read this expecting quality literature, or at least a good/touching story, which it was not, so you hated it. I then read it expecting it to be awful, which it also was not, so I liked it!It wasn't particularly well-written, well-character-developed, etc., etc. I completely agree w/Bridget's review that some of the plot twists were fairly ridic - and convenient (guy comes into the place where the neighbor works? other guy has ex's last name? and other examples I won't mention b/c I'm too lazy to put in a spoiler). But I was still entertained! Also, I should mention that I, unlike Bridget, did not know where the apes wound up, b/c I read the paperback (apparently it's revealed on the book flap of the hardcover - lame!) So I'm sure that helped.Basically, it was not quality, but the plot was entertaining, a la Jodi Picoult or Lisa Tucker.As a final note, I've always thought Water for Elephants was overrated, anyway. It was a really good story and I gave it 4 stars on GR, but I never understood how it ranks up there w/Dragon Tattoo, Hunger Games, The Help, etc.

  • Suzanne
    2018-12-17 17:47

    Ape House is superb! Gruen is an excellent writer and her ability to incorporate the interrelationship between human beings and animals makes her a unique and original voice. The animals here are bonobo apes, an endangered great ape species closest to humans. Bonobos are remarkable for their ability to communicate,(they can be taught sign language) their fine motor skills (can turn a page in a book one page at a time) and their sexuality. Apparently humans, dolphins and bonobos are the only species who participate in recreational sex. Gruen creates a riveting plot involving these apes and incorporates many current issues including the unethical and immoral use of primates in research, the rabid fascination we have with reality television, personal alienation and betrayal etc. I could not put the book down and became obsessed with these apes. Internet research provided instant gratification to photos and videos of these remarkable creatures. Highly recommended, especially for animal lovers.

  • Kathryn
    2018-12-26 22:55

    I started this book on the plane leaving for vacation. I only read in the evening while my husband was watching TV at night and finished it in three days/evenings. It was SO GOOD! Fascinating about bonobos and how much they resemble human beings. Quite the sexual species. Sara Gruen writes so fluidly, easy to follow and understand. I learned a bunch as I was absorbed into this wonderful story.

  • Matthew
    2018-12-23 18:49

    This book lacked the majesty and wonder that made Water for Elephants so enticing. There are some graphic scenes of animal cruelty, which I found hard to read. The characters are likable, but not totally engrossing or unique. The amazingly human-like behavior of the bonobo chimps in the novel was really what had me reading to the end.

  • Karen Germain
    2019-01-10 23:09

    Sara Gruen wrote one of my favorite novels, “Water For Elephants”, so I was really hoping that I would enjoy her latest novel, “Ape House.” Unfortunately, it completely fell flat. The story was clunky with cliché characters and absurd plot lines.On the positive, it started with a great idea. What if Bonobos who could speak ASL fell into the hands of the wrong people, specifically a sleazy porn/reality TV producer? The story brings up many valid moral questions and puts forth some interesting ideas. Also, Gruen went to the Great Ape Trust ( a rare privilege) and had personal experience as part of her research.I think this book may have been rushed. I am just guessing here, but I think Gruen’s publishers were rushing her to get her next book out and she didn’t have time to really work out the details. It’s a good idea that fell victim to poor execution. There were parts where I felt like the book might be headed in the right direction, but then somehow Russian strippers entered the story. Still scratching my head at that one!

  • Lauren1012
    2019-01-06 20:55

    Scrolling through the reviews, I find it interesting that most people seem to feel this book was a disappointment after Water for Elephants. I guess I'm in the minority; I didn't really like Water for Elephants that much (it was ok, but not something I'd rave about as others have), so I wasn't sure I'd like this book. But, my friend insisted that I read it and just had to trust her. I'm glad I did. At first I thought I was going to be disappointed; it seemed like the author was laying the groundwork for an affair between Isabelle and John that would be "acceptable". Fortunately, as my friend promised, nothing is "obvious" in this book. I was captivated by the bonobos' story line, especially because I've never really warmed to primates much, but I just found myself very interested in the topic in spite of myself.I can see why there are complaints about flat characters and glossing-over of details though. (One thing that really bugged me was how all the "proof" was obtained was legal, and never challenged in court). Overall though, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.

  • Mallory
    2018-12-26 21:11

    I feel sorry for Sara Gruen. Everything she writes will forever be compared against Water for Elephants, which is a high bar for anyone, even the author of the selfsame novel. That said, Ape House is no [novel: Water for Elephants], despite addressing a handful of similar themes.Gruen is an expert at creating human-like animal characters; this time around, it is a tribe of Bonobos which would make any reader want to dive into ape linguistic studies. Unfortunately, however, the Bonobos are the most interesting and nuanced characters in this novel and human characters often feel wooden and one-dimensional. The plot, inspired by Gruen's own experiences with the Great Ape Trust, sometimes feels contrived. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying. Themes and concepts are introduced, but not thoroughly explored. Almost everything about this novel feels half-hearted, despite Gruen's proclaimed passion for the subject matter. And yet...Gruen is an engaging, fluid writer who, even when not at top form, is able to write a novel that is, if nothing else, tolerable and oftentimes engaging. There were moments in this book that were reminiscent of her stronger writing and other moments that sparked me to something new. Though uneven and inconsistent, Ape House is also, strangely, enjoyable. Even while mentally criticizing it, I found it difficult to put down. Finally, it made me want to know more about a fascinating topic, which I believe was Gruen's intended purpose. Though Ape House is her fourth novel, it is apparent that Gruen has hit her sophomore slump; though she is a talented writer with unique stories and a considerable amount of charm, this offering is lackluster. Hopefully future novels will be, dare I say it, more like Water for Elephants.

  • Elphaba J
    2018-12-30 22:55

    A Casa dos Primatas é muito mais do que um simples romance. É uma narrativa sobre formas de vidas semelhantes com a capacidade de tocar o homem, que as desvaloriza, através das suas parecenças e diferenciações. São formas de vida apaixonantes que com a sua inocência, com as suas definições do que é certo e errado, e com a sua capacidade de aproximação afectiva não deixarão indiferentes quem tenha um coração aberto. Fala sobre símios, bonobos, afectivos, inteligentes e, de forma profunda, sexualmente emotivos.Isabel, a nossa protagonista, vive intensamente a sua profissão e é dotada de uma sensibilidade fora do comum. Ela é os nossos olhos num universo que evidência perspicazmente a influência do ser humano no reino animal, as suas consequências e evoluções, para ambas as partes, ao investigar a linguagem dos símios, ensinando-lhes a linguagem gestual e simbólica. Algo extremamente interessante e comprovado nos dias de hoje.John é um jornalista que tem o privilégio de assistir ao trabalho realizado por Isabel e ao qual não fica indiferente. Atravessando uma fase conturbada no seu casamento e profissionalmente, ele será uma peça crucial neste enredo complexo, bem trabalhado e absolutamente enriquecedor.Juntas, sem no entanto terem contacto permanente, estas personagens são determinantes e oferecem-nos a possibilidade de conhecer diversas perspectivas sociais, um leque muito variado de intervenientes que alargam o horizonte ficcional sem, no entanto, ultrapassarem a linha ténue do real que está presente ao longo de toda a história.Opinião completa: http://historiasdeelphaba.blogspot.pt...

  • Jill Paulson
    2018-12-26 17:42

    I LOVED Water for Elephants and honestly, was looking forward to reading Ape House. Same author...it should be just as good, if not better, right?Not right. And now that I've read a few reviews from others, it seems I'm not the only one who was more than a little disappointed. I'm sure that Gruen was trying to keep the plot line moving with all her twists and turns, but it all ended up feeling trite and some of the 'coincidences' that she used to connect characters (like a contrived paternity plot that was just silly from the start) were just TOO forced. Nothing seemed to develop naturally.If the characters weren't totally and completely cliche (the monstrous mother-in-law, the Russian prostitute, the rebellious college intern), they completely whiny and inconsistent - or consistently whiny - like John and his wife, Amanda.The ONLY parts of the book that I honestly enjoyed featured the bonobos. This is one area where you could tell the author had done her homework. I had not been aware of the Great Ape Trust and the amazing things that are going on there. It's actually not even that far away from where I live (about 5 hours). I only wish she would have given the rest of her characters the same attention and took a little more time to make her plot lines a bit more believable.

  • Caryn
    2019-01-04 21:47

    LOVED IT! Loved it more than Water for Elephants. You can tell the author really did her research. I can't wait for her next one!

  • Lauren
    2018-12-17 18:02

    How in the world was this written by the same author who gave the world Water for Elephants? Ms. Gruen switched publishing houses between books, and it makes me wonder if her previous editor deserves most of the credit for the bestselling novel. This book is supposed to be about bonobos taken from a research center and turned into the stars of a reality show. And that plot is there, in the background, hidden by boring, poorly mapped plot lines that go nowhere fast (that many of the summaries for this book begin with a long, drawn-out narrative about Ms. Gruen’s research into primate research rather than the novel itself should have clued me into the problems of this book). In lieu of character development, the book features lots and lots of melodramatic dysfunctional backgrounds, which are supported by absurd situations, and characters who should probably be under psychiatric care, given their mood swings and reactions. Usually, I can find the hint of a decent plot in a mediocre book, but even that’s missing here. To top it off, Ms. Gruen paints an unflattering and unrealistic portrayal of Los Angeles. Look, lady, I know my city has issues, but don’t mock it until you know it (or at least research it – similar to bonobos, Angelenos can be studied). Good if studying what a published novel should not be, otherwise not recommended.

  • Amber
    2019-01-03 22:47

    While I've loved the last 2 Sara Gruen books that I've read, I was still surprised with just how much I loved this one. The elements of mystery and suspense are woven so seamlessly together in this story. There is more here than the story of the apes, or the story of their caretakers, or even the story of those covering those stories. I had a terrible time putting this book down.The criminal plots were not something I was expecting when I started this book but she has proven that she can handle writing those as well. I came away from reading this book with an even deeper appreciation for Sara Gruen's writing talent. I also came away having fallen totally in love with the bonobos. I actually sat next to my husband with the laptop last night showing him pictures of the bonobos at the Great Ape Trust. These are fascinating and amazing creatures and there is so much that we can learn from them. There are parts of this book that are hard to read, because they are so strongly rooted in the truth. As a human race, we have a long way to go and much to learn about the way we treat not only animals, but each other as well. Once again, I am fascinated by how a book can open our eyes to the situation of those around us while showing us so much about ourselves. I am eagerly awaiting the next novel from Sara Gruen. I will be among the first in line to read it!

  • Christine
    2018-12-20 22:06

    Isabell Duncan is a research scientist studying language through teaching bonobo apes sign language. Her lab is blown up shortly after a visit from reporter John Thigpen, and the apes are unharmed but no longer in Isabell’s control. The resulting storyline of the book is the search for the missing Bonobo apes. I loved WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and unfortunately can not say the same thing for this book. Although is was an entertaining read and obviously well researched, it did not have the character and flow of her previous book. In my personal opinion Ms. Gruen tries to tackle too many topics in this book … animal research, animal rights, reality television, prostitution, pornography, meth labs, the “Hollywood experience” and one too many relationship issues. It made for a bit of a disjointed story. Even the characters are a bit cliche ... the meddling mother-in-law, the almost perfect wife, the hooker with a heart of gold and the hero reporter. This one just didn't pull the heartstrings for me in the way I had anticipated.

  • Gena
    2018-12-25 21:55

    Listening to an audio book is a different experience from reading, but I thought as a literary effort Ape House was charmless and formulaic. It has none of the offbeat appeal of Gruen's abused elephant, orphan veterinarian and raffish circus types in Water for Elephants. Here the protagonist calls his wife "baby," rhapsodizes about her eggs benedict, and worries she won't be able to fend off the wolves when she takes a job in LA. The wife is just as bad, dressing in her best lingerie and serving caviar to cajole her husband into letting her take the job. All the other characters are just as trite: the better than human bonobo apes who are subjected to the crass commercialism of America's love for reality TV, the Russian stripper with the heart of gold, the nogoodnik fiance, the plucky intern with pink hair. Ugh. Matters were not improved by the simpering falsettos delivered by the reader, Paul Boehmer. Just wait till I finish and review the other audio book I am in the middle of; now that's reading done right!

  • Debra
    2018-12-23 20:54

    For a more detailed review, please check out my review below:Debra's Book CafeDebs :-)

  • Julian Lees
    2019-01-10 16:04

    A bit contrived, a tad predictable but overall not a bad novel. I did feel that John and Amanda shared little chemistry and this annoyed me at times.

  • Ron Charles
    2018-12-17 18:07

    If we told all the animals in literature to shut up, the silence would be horrible. Sure, the serpent got our conversations off to an awkward start, but between the Garden of Eden and the Hundred Acre Wood, furry creatures have been some of our most cherished interlocutors. Who hasn't fantasized, along with Dr. Dolittle, that "if we could talk to the animals, just imagine it/Chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee"?But in real life, despite our superior intelligence, animals have made a lot more progress in learning our language than we've made in learning theirs. After all, most people have no idea what their dogs are barking, but even the scrappiest junkyard hound can follow a variety of human words. And remember back in 1998, the primordial days of the Internet, when Koko the gorilla conducted the first-ever interspecies chat over AOL with 8,000 subscribers? Although there are plenty of smart detractors, language research with animals continues to produce evidence of intelligent conversations that should remind us that we're not alone.As every member of every book club in America knows, halfway through Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants," the narrator finally figures out how to communicate with a recalcitrant pachyderm in a Depression-era circus. (Look for the movie version in April starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.) Now, in her much-anticipated follow-up to that charming bestseller, Gruen addresses the subject of animal language even more directly. Jumping over those popular novels about detective cats and telepathic dogs, "Ape House" considers the capacity of animals to think and communicate from a scientific perspective.After visiting the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Gruen was inspired to set her new book in a similar laboratory, where scientists teach primates to use symbols and signs to carry on conversations. This research raises profound moral and philosophical questions about our relations with "every beast of the field," and I'm sympathetic to animals-rights arguments, even when they're corralled in works of fiction: Annie Proulx's "That Old Ace in the Hole" got me to swear off pork. Rob Levandoski's "Fresh Eggs" encouraged me to switch to the free-range variety. And I expect to keep moving toward vegetarianism as thoughtful writers show me the inhumanity of our cruel (and unhealthy) carnivorous diets. But unfortunately, beyond parroting a few animal rights platitudes, "Ape House" doesn't have much to say about the subject it raises so earnestly. Gruen investigated how apes learn human language and then inexplicably buried her discoveries under a silly thriller about a sad-sack journalist and a naive primate scientist.Too bad, because the opening chapters show just how much potential this story has to move and inform us. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter John Thigpen comes to Kansas City to write about developments at the Great Ape Language Lab. He has some idea of what's being done here with bonobos -- small, peaceful cousins of chimpanzees -- but the experience of communicating with them "changed his comprehension of the world in such a profound way that he could not yet articulate it. . . . He'd looked into their eyes and recognized without a shadow of a doubt that sentient, intelligent beings were looking back."Gruen has a deep sympathetic regard for these bonobos -- they'll be your favorite characters, too -- and she conveys their playfulness and eager sexuality with great delight. To be sure, she anthropomorphizes them, but once an animal is actually talking with a human being, let's face it, that horse has left the barn. By showing the apes signing with John and their keeper, Dr. Isabel Duncan, Gruen gives a sense of the unsettling nature of their ability: just how revolutionary it is to realize that creatures we routinely imprison, infect and dissect are, in fact, intelligent and loving, capable of fear and empathy. It's a revelation that rejiggers your whole concept of personhood. As Dr. Duncan tells John, "Over the years, they've become more human, and I've become more bonobo."But soon something horrible happens -- to the apes and to the novel: Terrorists bomb the lab, Dr. Duncan barely survives, and her cowardly university, desperate to avoid further attacks, sells the animals to a notorious pornographer for a new reality TV show called "Ape House."At first, it seems that Gruen is resetting her novel as a zany satire of American culture, from media excess to medical ethics, with the poor apes standing in as the only humane creatures in a world gone mad. That could work, too, of course, but the author seems unwilling to provide anything more than rough sketches: The pornographer, his obscene ape TV show, the radical eco-protesters, the outrageous tabloid coverage -- it's all dashed off and obvious.Instead, the story insists on pursuing a couple of limp romantic crises, one about John and his depressed wife; the other involving Dr. Duncan and her fiance, who may be monkeying around with the wrong people. No opportunity for lachrymose melodrama is passed by: Even the African violets die a terrible death. The bonobos make a few more tantalizing appearances, but we remain caged in John's and Dr. Duncan's mopey stories while all the interesting action seems to be happening somewhere else.Particularly in a book inspired by the miracle of language, it's disappointing to see such reliance on cliches, as though the novel drove to the Costco Phrase Store and loaded up with off-the-shelf words. John "found the atmosphere intoxicating," or "lied copiously and through his teeth," or "wanted to shrink into the earth." Seeing the damage done to the lab was "like taking a cannonball to the gut. . . . He knew he should try to collect himself, but at this point he had nothing to lose." Maybe these complaints sound like English-teacher pedantry, but the cumulative effect of such stylistic sloth is deadening.The 800-pound gorilla in the room is why someone at Gruen's new publishing house didn't give her the benefit of a good edit. Even if the silly story and the trite characters couldn't be saved, why leave these pages pocked with such lines? The answer, I can only assume, has something to do with the more than $5 million that a division of Random House reportedly paid to lure Gruen away from Algonquin, her small North Carolina publisher. That cynical process has misserved a beloved writer and her elephantine fan base. If there were any justice in publishing, Spiegel & Grau would be heckled by People for the Ethical Treatment of Authors.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...