Sunday, November 25, 2018

Rescued

I've been working my way through Eliot Schrefer's Ape Quartet and was surprised to learn that Rescued was set primarily in the United States. I think it was clever to bring the story closer to home for many of his readers, with the intent of creating a relatable character and sympathy for the plight of orangutans. Unfortunately, this novel didn't work for me as well as the first two. 

When he was a child, John's father brought him home Raja, an orangutan from Indonesia. Rash decisions are typical for John's father, who continues to spiral downward throughout the novel, leaving John and his mother to deal with the consequences. The biggest of which is a rapidly growing ape who needs more care than anyone can provide. When John takes it upon himself to do right by Raja, he realizes what a challenge that actually is. 

There were some things I enjoyed about Rescued. I like that this novel talks about animal testing and how many of those animals end up in labs. I also appreciate that Schrefer quickly dispels the idea that it would be fun to have a pet ape (in ways both violent and disgusting). 

I wanted to like it more, but I found this novel to be very dark and the main character to be inherently unlikable. Perhaps it was a deliberate choice; John's father didn't set him up for success, but I couldn't connect to him the way I did with the author's previous protagonists. Still, I will continue reading the series and am curious to see what Schrefer does with his next main character, an actual ape instead of just a person relating to one. 

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