Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Memoir Monday... Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods

A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes—who teach her a new truth about love and belonging

It's funny how you come to find a book sometimes. How I found Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods is first I read Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and loved it! Then I went to BEA and heard that Sara Gruen was going to be there signing her new book Ape House. Next I briefly meet Sara Gruen, she signs her new book Ape House for me and off I go to read away. What I didn't know at the time was that Ape House was a story of Bonobo's, and that Bonobos are our closest relatives, sharing 98.7% of our DNA. I thought it was fascinating and had to look into Bonobos a little more. While I was researching, I found Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods which had been recently published and tells the story of Vanessa following her fiance into the Congo to study the Bonobos, and her story and the story of the Bonobos was all so interesting. So Bonobo Handshake is in my TBR pile, I'll be reviewing Ape House by Sara Gruen shortly, and in the meantime here's what Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods is all about right from Vanessa's website BonoboHandshake.com...

In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo’s capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7% of our DNA. Vanessa soon discovered that bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.
A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa’s self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings. Courageous and extraordinary, Almost French meets The Poisonwood Bible in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

I look forward to reading Vanessa's book, as the story of the Bonobos is an important one. The adults have been hunted and killed for the bushmeat trade, and the babies are either left on their own or illegally poached as pets. There is only one sanctuary in the world that rescues and rehabilitates these innocent victims, and that is Lola ya Bonobo in the Congo. If you'd like to learn more about the Bonobos before you read Vanessa's book, you can visit Friends of Bonobos , it was an eye opener for me.

5 comments:

The Yard Bard said...

I love it when one interesting thing leads to a whole fascinating chain of events! This might have to go in my "to be read" pile, too.

stpand said...

The Writer's Block podcast recently featured Vanessa Woods reading an excerpt of the book

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510076

Vanessa Woods: Bonobo Handshake
Tuesday, July 06, 2010, 2:59:41 PM

Vanessa Woods reads a passage from BONOBO HANDSHAKE, her memoir about the time she spent in the company of bonobos in the jungles of Congo. KQED_128340607.mp3

Suzanne said...

Hi Yard Bard!
It sure was a round about way of picking up Vanessa's book, but glad I arrived there! :-)

Suzanne said...

Hi Stpand!
Thanks for letting me know about the podcast! Amazing that it was so recent too! I can't wait to hear her speak.

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