Saturday, December 15, 2012

Staff Pick - Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Just recently Maureen blogged about The Ape House and its story of bonobo apes. Coincidentally, I had just finished reading the young adult novel Endangered the same day and had already decided to share it with you via this blog.

Endangered (M) by Eliot Schrefer describes 14 yr old Sophie’s visit to Congo to see her Mother. Sophie spends the school year in the United States with her American Father, and her summers with her Congolese Mother, who runs a bonobo sanctuary. Set in a politically unstable and rebellious Congo, events beyond Sophie's control result in her deciding to rescue and flee with a baby bonobo. Sophie cares for him as if it were her own child, even when all hope has disappeared.

This book captures your heart and squeezes hard from the very beginning. You feel for Sophie and her kindness and big heart, for her Mother who devotes every second to the safety of the bonobos, and for the bonobos themselves, both inside and outside the sanctuary.

I cried, I laughed, and I learned. I love it when a book teaches me about something, and in this case I learned about Congo and its history and culture, and of the bonobo apes. I finished this book with much excitement to let all my reading friends know ‘they have to read this’!

Sherfer himself adores bonobos and has spent much time researching the ape in a sanctuary in Congo. He tried to capture the bonobos actions and attitudes based on his own observations, though he states the book is a work of fiction. Although this novel is primarily aimed at a young adult audience, it will also be enjoyable for many adult readers as well.

So, if you enjoy reading about bonobos or other primates, check these out:

Lucy: a novel
by Laurence Gonzales

The Ape House
by Sara Gruen

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
by Benjamin Hale 

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