Go ape with “Bonobo Handshake”

Review by Dana Taylor

One of my favorite reads of last year was something I picked up on a whim at the library–Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo by Vanessa Woods. Romance, adventure, politics, and sex–monkey sex–Bonobo Handshake has it all.Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

Product description:

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

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 percent of our DNA and who 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 in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

Written with a breezy first person tone, the book is engaging, informative and ultimately quite moving as the reader comes to care about the small bonobos and their struggle to survive on a continent torn by strife. Woods achieves a pathos that Sara Gruen somehow missed in her attempt to publicize bonobos in Ape House last year.

If you’re looking for something a little different with heart and humor, take a peek at Bonobo Handshake.


The Spring into Books Blog Hop continues through March 30. You can’t win if you don’t enter!

Support your favorite authors by posting Amazon customer reviews.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: