Ape House by Sara Gruen
Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but apes she gets -- especially the bonobos Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongojelani, and Makena, who are capable of reason and communication through American Sign Language. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans -- until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter writing a human interest feature. But when an explosion rocks the lab, John's piece turns into the story of a lifetime -- and Isabel must connect with her own kind to save her family of apes from a new form of human exploitation. Full Synopsis
About the Book
  • Published:
    Nov-2009 (Hardcover)
    Apr-2011 (Paperback)
  • Formats:
    Print / eBook / Audio
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Scientist Isabel Duncan works with the bonobo apes at the Great Ape Learning Lab. She shows reporter John Thigpen how the apes are able to communicate with the ASL (American Sign Language).

Thigpen is impressed and becomes fond of the apes immediately.

On his way back to the office, John learns that someone has blown up the lab and set the apes free.

The University feared more violence and sold the apes. The person who bought them was a former pornographic film maker. This man puts the apes on reality TV and they become a big hit. People watch the apes as they order food, have sex and communicate with each other.

Isabel is devistated at the loss of the apes. She had spent so much time training them. They are the animals closest to humans and can show love and other emotions. When they demonstrate their feelings toward her, she responds as if they were part of her own family.

As characters, John and Isabel are well drawn. We learn what is missing in their lives and believe that if they can care enough about these animals, they can care about others, and in John's case, start a family.

The story is intriguing and believable. The apes are as innocent as children and we share John and Isabel's pain at the loss of the apes and we hope that they can rescue them from being exploited.
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