Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale Book Review

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve (February 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446571571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446571579


Bruno Littlemore is unlike any other chimpanzee in the world.  Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in the Lincoln Park Zoo, falls under the care of primatologist Lydia Littlemore. Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys—and most affecting love stories—in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like to be human -- to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.

My Review:

4 stars out of 5

I am so happy I was introduced to Benjamin Hale and this book.  Having been sick this past week, I found myself laying in bed catching up on my reading.  This was a book that I couldn’t put down once I began reading it.  This well written debut novel is a must read for the new year.  Bruno the talking chimp takes on human-like characteristics.  It follows Bruno through his many relationships and journey in life.  Beginning and ending in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the reader is taken along on a whirlwind adventure to say the least, as Bruno falls in love with Dr. Lydia Littlemore (and has sex), is taken to quiet ranch in Colorado, where he acts like a human and becomes a truly remarkable chip, and then when Lydia becomes ill, Bruno ends up in NYC where he befriends Leon, a dreamer, and then ultimately is sent back to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo.  

Benjamin Hale brings Bruno to life, and in doing so at times makes the reader like we are following a human being on their journey of discovery, meaning in life and love.  At times I found myself reaching for a dictionary to look up words Hale uses, as he makes Bruno seem like a seasoned and very articulate chimp.  This book does a great job in dealing with self-identity and humanity, as seen through the eyes of a chimp.  I am so glad I found time to read

About the Author:

Benjamin Hale is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received a University of Iowa Provost’s Fellowship to write The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, which also went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a trompe l’oeil painter, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.

Don't forget to check out the author's website to learn more about him and this novel.

Disclosure:  I was given a copy of this book from the Hackette Book Group in order to provide an honest review.  My views/statements above are mine and mine alone.

No comments :

Post a Comment