Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bonobo Handshake

Back when I reviewed Ape House Sara Gruen, Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods was recommended. That was another title I was still waiting to read, so I was glad to hear how good it was. When I started reading on Friday morning, I was instantly into the story. Woods' book is party biography, chronicling her work with Bonobos, her courtship and marriage to Brian, the man who started her career with these apes. It is also not a biography as it provides a great deal of information about bonobos and life in the Congo.

Although initially brought to the Congo and working with Bonobos through her husband, Woods also fell in love with these animals. She shares different stories of her work with them and her relationship with many of them. When a Bonobo that she has worked with and grown to love becomes sick and dies, she grieves for these animals as though they were her children. Life in the Congo is hard, and there are many needless deaths as various groups fight amongst themselves, all seeking control. Woods is able to provide background information about the Congo's political background and the different African tribes.

This book was informative, entertaining and well written. I finished off Bonobo Handshake in just one day, all the while being totally amazed by these animals.
For more information about the Bonobos, visit Friends of Bonobos.


Fourth Musketeer said...

I'm so glad you liked this book as much as I did. I thought it was incredible. I want to adopt a bonobo...
(not for at home, but at the sanctuary). Have you read Kenneth Oppel's Half Brother? Also really good--I've been wanting to review it on my blog but haven't finished writing it up yet. Half Brother has to do with chimps not bonobos.

The Golden Eagle said...

Bonobos are interesting animals--I watched a NOVA documentary on them, and I've always wondered if there were any good books on them. Thanks for the review!