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5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
Yet another great book from Sara Gruen. A fascinating subject, with a wonderfully fast paced story woven around it. One of those books that I didn't want to end.
Published on March 6 2012 by dennisharry

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3.0 out of 5 stars Sara Gruen: Ape House.
This book is interesting, yet confusing, reading. First of all, the apes are much more pleasant and understandable than the main human characters.
Moreover I felt more and more disconcerted as I kept reading.
There were two reasons for my feelings: first, if the apes can communicate with people by ASL, like deaf children, then where is the difference between...
Published 12 months ago by Hana


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3.0 out of 5 stars Sara Gruen: Ape House., Oct. 13 2013
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This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
This book is interesting, yet confusing, reading. First of all, the apes are much more pleasant and understandable than the main human characters.
Moreover I felt more and more disconcerted as I kept reading.
There were two reasons for my feelings: first, if the apes can communicate with people by ASL, like deaf children, then where is the difference between humans and other hominids? The question is even articulated in the reader's guide. The authoress quite correctly describes what it is like, but doesn't even hint that the difference is in the absence of grammar in the ape's speech, which deaf humans eventually develop in ASL.
Another problem was the strangeness of the main protagonists. John is the total servant of his spoiled wife, whose change happens too quickly and is too complete. He is also a do-gooder, who has not noticed that the mutual bank account was depleted.
Isabel I didn't understand at all. She is not approachable, unless you are an ape. She fancies John, and then suddenly, it is Gary. And everyone has had a bad childhood.
I liked the youngsters: the prostitutes, Russian or otherwise, and the green-haired teenage criminal.
When a writer deals with such an important topic, in which some scientific background is needed, then he/she owes more explanation to the readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, July 6 2013
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This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
Bought this for my father, and he enjoyed it very much. Not quite as good as Water for Elephants, though!
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book, March 6 2012
This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
Yet another great book from Sara Gruen. A fascinating subject, with a wonderfully fast paced story woven around it. One of those books that I didn't want to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing book for all the wrong reasons, March 28 2011
This review is from: Ape House (Hardcover)
Sara Gruen writes like a dream, but sadly I found this book disturbing for reasons not intended by the author. To compare this book with Jurassic Park might seem bizarre, but Ape House shares with that famous book and movie the same fundamental flaws. They both have a wonderful central idea, based in sound modern science, with the possibility for truly transformative fiction, but they are dressed up in trite and predictable plots and populated with flat, stereotypical characters. In Ape House, we have evil scientists, naive scientists, ignorant animal rights activists, crusading journalists, unethical journalists, and trashy television producers. The bonobos probably have less than 20% of the page time, and an unfortunate proportion of that is preoccupied with their prodigious sex lives. My dog communicates with me every day; the author wrapped her central theme in so much trash, that the intellect of the bonobos hardly seems more remarkable than a puppy asking to be let outside. What a missed opportunity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STERLING READING OF AN INTRIGUING STORY - AUDIO EDITION, Oct. 9 2010
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ape House: A Novel (Audio CD)
Another story by the estimable author of 'Water For Elephants,' Sara Gruen, deserves a first class narrator, which is precisely what is found in Bill Boehmer. A seasoned stage and television actor he delivers an articulate, highly listenable reading.

There is a group of bonobos, Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani and Makena by name, who are living at a university's Great Ape Language Lab. Now, while all apes may be unique these bonobos truly are - not only can they reason and have meaningful relationships but they're also able to communicate by American Sign Language.

Isabel Duncan is a scientist at the Lab working with the bonobos. She is more than content at the Lab as she feels more comfortable with the bonobos than with other human beings. However tranquility is broken when there's an explosion seriously injuring Isabel. Further, the bonobos have vanished only to reappear starring in a reality television program, Ape House.

Prior to the explosion a newspaper reporter, John Thigpen, had been putting together a story about what was happening in the Lab. But the explosion followed by the humiliating exploitation of the bonobos changes everything not only for him but also for Isabel as the two join forces to bring the bonobos home.

A remarkable story.

- Gail Cooke
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Change, Sept. 21 2011
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
'Ape House' is a light read that attempts to open the animal world to us by bringing the Bonobos Apes to life in an original way.

This is a story about a family of Bonobos, their caretaker scientist Isabel Duncan and a down to earth reporter John Thigpen. I will cover the plotting in a few words, it begins with the primate language laboratory being bombed and Isabel left badly injured, severe enough to end up in the trauma ward of the closest hospital. The Bonobos fall into the hands of a porn producer and are locked up in a house with cameras broadcasting their every move on cable television. Reporter John Thigpen covers the story while his personal life is on a down turn, his home life it is about to take a drastic change. The plotting gets meatier when Isabel is released from hospital and teams up with John to find out who targeted the laboratory, for what reason and what has happened to her family of apes.

The story explores in a far-fetched semi captivating manner, the issue of animal rights from the point of view of activists, scientists and the public. The plot takes a meandering course with a bit of action here and there mostly done by the humans, there are also subtle references to sexual activities amongst the apes and their unique methods of communication. I found this part satire and part morality driven tale was presented to us by a cast of lackluster and easily forgotten characters, maybe if the Bonobos had been given a greater role it would have left a more lasting impression. Unfortunately the book started strong just to peter out by the end, I was disappointed when the tale did not capture the apes' behaviour, gestures and emotions in a more detailed fashion.

Although the story was not what I had anticipated, I nevertheless enjoyed the change
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2.0 out of 5 stars what a let down, May 10 2011
This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
I was sure disappointed in this book, Water for Elephants was great but this book was too juvenile as her "horsey" books tend to be. I read anything to do with animals and yes, I got something out of it about animals and yes ,the author did lots of research but the story was so predicable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Sept. 30 2014
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This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
Very good read
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, Feb. 5 2011
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This review is from: Ape House (Hardcover)
I have read Water For Elephants and consider it to be a five star book. It is one of my favourites. Ape House promised to be a good read and I expected it to be of the same calibre. I just finished it and am very disappointed.
The Apes , in my opinion, are merely a backdrop for the other characters, other than Isabel Duncan. We learn more about John Thigpen and his wife Amanda and their struggles than we do about the Apes.
I would have liked more of a story and connection to Isabel and the Apes and their time spent together before the explosion,this would have been a great opportunity to share what scientists have learned.
The story had great potential and Sarah Gruen is certainly a gifted writer and that is why I am so disappointed. It should have been better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing!!, Nov. 15 2010
By 
Louise Jolly "Bookaholic" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ape House (Hardcover)
Bonzi, Makena, Sam, Lola, Jelani, and Mbongo are Bonobo apes who live in luxury at the Great Ape Language Lab under the careful eye of Isabel Duncan a scientist. These apes are able to reason, carry on relationships and can communicate with humans through American Sign Language. They are extremely intelligent animals.

A reporter named John Thigpen comes to Isabel's lab to see and interview both Isabel and the Bonobo's as an interest piece for his newspaper. Little did John and Isabel know that this particular piece was going to turn out to be the biggest story of their entire lives.

An serious and highly damaging explosion at the lab severely injures Isabel and the apes go missing until a reality television show featuring the missing Bonobos airs on t.v. Millions of people are literally glued to their t.v. sets watching the everyday lives of the apes. They order greasy take-out, eat hamburgers one after the other totally ruining their careful diet that was fed to them at the Language Lab. They are also signing on t.v. for Isabel to come and get them, but where are they?

Once out of the hospital, Isabel now sets out to find who has the apes and where they are being housed but it won't be easy. She is forced to get mixed up with some pretty sleazy people. Will Isabel ever find her beloved Bonobos?

Sara Gruen has written another mesmerizing story that will keep you turning page after page. For those of you who read Sara's other novel: "Water for Elephants" won't be disappointed with this one either. This is a novel that everyone should read!!
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Ape House by Sara Gruen (Hardcover - Sept. 7 2010)
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