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The lives and loves of the Bonobo apes were appealing and compelling, especially, for the purposes of fiction, their use of ASL. The reality show "Ape House" was an awesome invention, and the reader couldn't help getting pulled in by the thoughts and behavior of the apes. But...and why does there have to be a "but"? The action just became too frenzied towards the end, too many change-ups, creating narrative whiplash. It's almost as if the novel was being tweaked by editors, and the real work by Sara Gruen is only there at the beginning. It's unfortunate that "Water for Elephants" was so good, as all Gruen's other novels will suffer by comparison, unless she comes up with something better. Which this novel was most definitely not, lacking the depth, detail, measured pace and multi-leveled characterization of the first novel. This book is definitely a good read, but it's primarily an "action" story, and nothing like "Water for Elephants", which is on another plane entirely.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful
I absolutely loved Water For Elephants. Sadly, Ape House can't hold a candle. I could never quite connect with any of the characters, in spite of the author's penchant for seriously tedious and minute detail all along the way. The plot is just compelling enough to keep one wondering how things will end up at last, but I found myself forwarding through the recording during the last two hours as I couldn't stand it dragging along any more. I just wanted to know what finally happened to the wretched apes! I'm afraid the narrator may also have driven me slightly mad during this book. Very precise diction (to the point of distraction) which somehow served to highlight the tedium of the descriptions, and some pronunciation which actually made me scream out loud at one point. Otherwise, he portrayed the characters nicely--it's just a timing-thing, I guess. Perhaps you will like this recording better than me, but if you're expecting something as fabulous as Water For Elephants you'll likely be dismayed. Gosh, I hate to be so negative, but this book just drove me nuts!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful