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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard


Endangered - Eliot Schrefer Endangered is a tale of a young girl who is put into a violent situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all the while having a bonobo to keep alive as well. Sophie's mother runs a sanctuary for bonobos in the war-torn country and unfortunately the new round of battles reach the sanctuary and cause Sophie, and many of the bonobos, to go on the run. Knowing this information going in I thought that the story could have been a tear-jerker for me, but it failed to capture my heart.

I know a great deal about the plight of great apes on this planet and I am constantly baffled by the way in which they are disregarded or mistreated by their closest relatives: humans. Apes and other species on this planet are often caught in the middle of human issues, such as war or greed (both of which have so very many subsequent consequences, such as hunger). The trade in bushmeat is a major issue affecting great apes and this is slightly touched upon in the book.

Due to my affection for all beings non-human, I thought this one would hit me pretty hard. However, the general undercurrent of "people first" throughout the book really turned me off. I don't adhere to this belief and find it difficult to understand when an innocent and helpless bonobo is in the middle of this human issue in the book (and in real life). While the character of Sophie acts opposite, she seems constantly conflicted and contemplating the "people first" belief.

The story is written in a mix between fiction and non-fiction, unfortunately this was a problem. The author does not come across as knowledgeable when it comes to the great apes and I found multiple situations and/or statements in the book unbelievable. The knowledge that he does portray comes across in factoids.

Overall I was not a fan of the portrayal of the bonobos, I felt they could have been treated more fairly. I also was not a big fan of the writing style as it lacked intimacy in my opinion and subsequently caused me to not become attached to the main character. While Endangered would more than likely deserve 2 stars from me I am boosting it to 3 due to the book bringing more attention to great apes and the general strife in the DRC, both of which are so often forgotten.