Ape House

Ape House

A Novel

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385523219
Characteristics: 306 p. ; 25 cm


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Mar 06, 2019

I listened to "Ape House" on CD and really enjoyed it. The characters were engaging and the plot left me sitting at the edge of my seat. A very enjoyable novel.

Feb 11, 2019

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab and John Thigpen, a reporter with a stroke of bad luck in search for a breaking story; One independent from the other but when a disastrous incident threatens the wellbeing of the bonobos, their lives collide to try and save the one true family Isabel has ever known.
I read quite a few reviews on this book but failed to understand why there was so much looming disappointment. Yes, at first it did not sound all that exciting to read a book about apes but the author's work and dedication clearly highlighted her commitment to providing a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and thought the comic breaks added the perfect touch. I even found myself grinning (like the apes themselves), as I read the ending. Definitely a great read.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 23, 2018

As in "Water for Elephants," Gruen's love for animals shines through in this rollicking ride. This novel is much more fun than "water". Ostensibly a story about great apes in a language acquisition study it's really a satire of everything from Hollywood's obsession with appearance and reality television to activists, tabloids and even what makes a marketable novel (blow something up!). Gruen does in this novel that's more fun than a barrel of bonobos. — Laura P., Information & Online Services

Jan 07, 2017

Despite all of the accolades, I was surprised at the quality of this book from the author of water for elephants. I read the elephant book and enjoyed it greatly. This book reads like a written for TV movie with all of the obligatory, predictable subplots. It did not pass the 50 page test.

Jan 19, 2016

I just picked this off the shelf and had not read Gruen before. I read it in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down except to sleep. I learned so much, too, that I hadn't known but should. Fabulous. I will now read everything she has written!

Jun 04, 2015

Very interesting to learn about apes and their communication abilities. A fast paced story that held my interest. It was more about the characters than the apes, but they were a side story that held it together.

Dec 22, 2014

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

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!

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 10, 2014

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.

lbarkema Jun 19, 2014

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.

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