Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Should Get More Press Than It Does

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Teen and Above Fiction

I loved everything about this book.  It was definitely one of the best reads of the year for me.  It was originally marketed as an adolescent book but I think the publishing company really missed the mark on that one.  The reading level and subject matter make it definitely inappropriate for readers younger than 13.  And, it isn't just the overt sexuality of the bonobo monkeys (who knew they were so ......frisky?), but also the violence and political situations dealt with in the book.

When Sophie goes to visit her mother in the Congo for Spring Break, she's all ready for the crazy lifestyle change.  After all, her mother runs a bonobo sanctuary and Sophie lives most of her life as a typical American teen.  What Sophie didn't expect was to rescue her very own bonobo monkey, whom she promptly names Otto, and then fall in love with him.  What Sophie also didn't expect was the realities of the Congo's government and rebel fighting to find its way into her world.  Suddenly, Sophie is on her own in a forest enclosure full of wild animals with only two things on her mind:  escaping to safety and protecting baby Otto.

The book wasn't quite was I was expecting but it was so much more.  It was like a hearty beef stew-so much in there to digest and a story that will really stick to your bones and fill you up. The setting and political situation was so foreign to me. I loved learning and reading about it. It is so far removed from my life yet the author made it so real and accessible. The entire book was fraught with emotions-joy, sadness, fear, excitement, confusion, guilt-the reader feels everything the main characters is going through.  This book is filled with such bravery and such beauty amidst such very real despair.

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