Lucy by Laurence Gonzales

[This book comes out in July 2010]Half Bonobo ape-half human. Who could resist a book with that premise? The book opens and immediately has a fast paced adventure scenario-in the Congo jungle a woman awakes, hears the milita coming, and must flee.  She has spent years in the jungle researching and studying the Bonobos and now must get up and run.  On the way she stops (well, it is a two day walk from her own hut) at the one other scientist’s hut and finds him dead.  She had heard he had a daughter and finds the daughter alive and flees the country with her.  That girl is Lucy and it turns out that her scientist father created her with his own sperm used to artificially inseminate a female Bonobo ape.

With any story like this, be it book or movie, you know it is going to come down to the big federal government trying to capture the innocent gentle (think of ET).  This had the frightening contemporary angle of the Patriot Act thrown in. The other theme is, of course, the two sides of the individual-her animal side vs. her human side (think Eva by Peter Dickinson).  In this story Lucy’s two sides are not so much at war, as complementary.  Bonobo apes are something like 98% identical to human beings, and Lucy was highly educated by her father.  So while she is super strong and has amazing instincts, she is very much a smart teenage girl, too. 

Jenny, the scientist, and Lucy love each other and attempt to have a normal life outside of the jungle.  They are soon like mother and daughter.  Lucy connects with another person as well, Amanda, and they are soon best friends.I read this pretty quickly-it was extremely engaging and fast paced and seemed to cover a lot (and a fairly long span of time.)  One of the things I really liked about it was when Lucy talked about “The Stream”, which is how animals communicate.  Even outside of the jungle she can be in the stream and communicate with pretty much any animal.  This would certainly make a good movie and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t optioned for one already (although it was a good book it felt very much like a movie in many ways.)

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