Review: The Education of Bruno Littlemore – Benjamin Hale

 

Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Twelve (February 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446571571
ISBN-13: 9780446571579
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Characters:

Bruno Littlemore – An evolved chimpanzee.
Lydia Littlemore – His keeper.
Leon – A Shakespearean friend.

Synopsis:

What happens when a chimpanzee evolves to the point of possessing language. What would he say? How would he react? How is mankind different than the Chimpanzee? Bruno Littlemore is such a chimp, and he dicates his adventures from the zoo to New York, to where he finally ends up imprisoned.

Review:

This is undoubedly one of the most unusual books I’ve ever read. I went through a ton of different feelings during the process of reading it. Initially it was revulsion. There were some scenes of very intense taboo sexual matters that bothered me to even think about. But then I decided that I’d agreed to review it, so I needed to continue on and finish the job I started.

This book wasn’t truly about a chimp. It wasn’t about his love affair with woman. It wasn’t even about his evolution. I think deep down, the story was about mankind. This was mankind as seen by an outsider (Bruno) and what it meant to be human, and what separated us from the other primates.

That is when I was glad I’d read this book. It is one that brings about a lot of questions. It raises a lot of issues for discussions. It makes you question whether or not we humans are truly as evolved as we like to pretend. As some scenes in this book show, Bruno is more civilized then some humans.

There’s a lot of strong language in this book. Very strong sexual content. And some graphic violent imagery. It’s definitely not a book for young readers. I’d say it might be safe for those 16 and older, but parents might want to read it first to be able to discuss the issues with their child.

Apparently this book has been hyped about immensely since last June, and was just recently released. I was glad to get a copy to review, since I probably wouldn’t have chosen it otherwise. The publisher is 12 which is a group that only publishes one book a month. At first, I had no idea why they chose this, but now that I’ve read it, I get it. It makes you think, really think.

If you don’t get offended easily, and want something different, pick this up. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

About the Author:

Benjamin Hale is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he received a Provost’s Fellowship to complete his novel, which also went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a security guard, a trompe l’oeil painter, a pizza deliverer, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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