Animal . . . Vegetable . . . Mineral?

What are we exactly?

For those of us who loved the Planet of the Apes movies and were able to suspend disbelief long enough to imagine Apes, Chimpanzees and Monkeys (not the singing group) as our intellectual equals but simply without the necessary language skills, a debut book, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore,  by new writer Benjamin Hale might just tickle your opposing thumb.

Hale writes of an unlikely truly original narrator, Bruno Littlemore, a chimpanzee with an amazing I.Q. who is brought to the University of Chicago to learn to communicate through spoken language.  Bruno falls in love with researcher Lydia Littlemore, who takes him first to her apartment and later to a Colorado ranch owned by a couple of odd animal rights advocates.

It is at this ranch that Bruno becomes a fully articulate and artistic being, less ape and more man.  His relationship with Lydia, one of the more bizarre aspects of the book replaces the human/pet relationship with man/woman feelings and actions (yes, I do mean that in the literal sense).

Eventually, Bruno and Lydia are forced to leave the ranch and from that point on, if possible, Bruno’s life becomes a twisted human menu of life in New York City, an acting career and plastic surgery.  I found this book a fascinating and interesting read, but I have no desire to see it made into a movie.

-posted by Jill, Readers’ Services

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