The story was ok but there were so many extraneous details (who cares how seedy the hotel room was or how overbearing mom is?) that I ended up skipping to the last few chapters - I don't think I missed much in between.
Because I so enjoyed "Water for Elephants" I was looking forward to this book, and the premise seemed fascinating. But "Ape House" is weak and forgettable.
What a waste of a credit. A real disappointment. The premise holds promise but, for me, did not deliver. A little like a boring Robin Cook or Michael Crighton.
For a minute at the beginning I thought I smelled a gushy romance. Thank God I was wrong. I read Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” so I should have known better.
This was a story of the bonobos, a primate I had never known about until now. I loved the detailed descriptions of their language learning, their distinct personalities and interpersonal relationships amongst themselves, their environments and human associates.
As a mystery, the book had many twists and turns but it was also compassionate, entertaining, and very educational. It made me want to meet the hilarious bonobos.
Like “Water for Elephants” I would recommend this book to all.
This book was recommended by a friend who said it was "okay". I thought I'd give it a chance because I read Water for Elephants and really enjoyed that story. I figured this story would be similar. This book was so brutal that I've actually blocked out the story from memory....I don't even remember what happens past the initial beginning (*the beginning was well done, I thought it had potential), but I have no idea how it ended, quite frankly, I don't care. Not impressed with this and would not recommend.
This is the 3rd book of Sara Gruen's that I have read. Obviously, Water for Elephants was the best. Riding Lessons was the worst and this was inbetween. I did not see good character development. There are a high number of insignificant side issues that add nothing to the story: a meth lab that blows up, a possible illegitimate child, family issues galore. None are developed to much detail.
The female characters seem to be weak and wimpy. Both lead females crumble in terror and become helpless in times of stress. Although they each come out of it, evidence of this "woose" factor remains visible. It does not make them endearing people.
Where there could (and should) have been a lot of danger and suspense surrounding the end of the book, especially due to all the side issues, there wasn't. It is such a dud.
Then there is the narration. The timing, or pauses, are infuriating. Female voices are insulting. The punk kids sound more like brahmins than street smart characters. None of it meshes with the story line.
I really was looking forward to this book. I heard Ms. Gruen speak after the success of WFE. But this just wasn't a worthy result. Even the adorable bonobos could not salvage this wreck.
I cannot stress how dissappointing this book was! Water for elephants is in my top ten and I was looking forward to this story, but I wish I never wasted my time! The characters are weak, story predictable and lack luster, and narrrator annoying. I had to force myself to finish it. Need I say more?
I like the premise of this novel: a group of apes become the ultimate reality TV stars and captivate their audience. The "ape house" interludes are the most interesting parts of the book. It became clear very quickly, however, that the characters were paper thin. The female scientist was saintly; the male scientist was cartoonishly evil. Also, the narration of this book drove me absolutely crazy. I almost quit listening an hour into the novel because the narrator inexplicably gives the young woman character an exaggerated "valley girl" accent. It was beyond distracting - it was annoying and not indicated by the text at all.
I truly enjoyed Water for Elephants and so I was anxious to read this book, also written by Sara Gruen. And she didn't disappoint. I like her characters very much, and am glad there were no relationship cliches to have to forgive. The research was great and the story refreshingly different. What will be next from her??
I agree with many of the other low reviews, this book doesn't hold a candle to "Water for Elephants", almost seems like it was from another author. The characters cut from cardboard, the narrative predictable and trite - I could listen with "one ear" and still follow it because I knew where we were going. Gruen relies heavily on characters cut from cloth that's familiar to the reader and props them up with insipid dialogue. The story is interesting in a Michael Crichton-esque way, but doesn't even have his writing ability behind it (and that's saying something).