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Chimpan-A to chimpan-Z

July 6th, 2010

(I am always happy for an excuse to include a Troy McClure Simpsons reference in my titles)

Anyway, Dave is a member of the Amazon Vine program, which gives him access to review copies of books and such, and through this, I was able to read an advance readers’ edition of a new novel called “Lucy” which is the story of a girl who is a hybrid human-bonobo and the various ethical and social issues this brings up.

“Lucy” is an amazing story, which should appeal to a wide variety of readers. It is several books in one: the story of how a “home schooled” girl from the jungles of Africa learns to adapt to American culture, a science-fiction tale about the relationship between humans and bonobos and what a hybrid of the two species might be like, a gripping chase yarn pitting a few good people against a heartless enemy, and lastly, and most importantly, a philosophical examination of what it means to be human, told in the voice of the protagonist.

“Lucy” touches on so many different issues that in the hands of a lesser writer, the story might end up unraveling into a series of disjointed vignettes. Luckily, we are in good hands, as author Laurence Gonzales deftly weaves the various threads of the novel into a unified whole, providing enough background on the legal and scientific issues to satisfy the curious, while making sure the real star of the tale, Lucy herself, shines through. Lucy is the center of this book, and it is to the author’s credit that she becomes, well, real in a way that made me think long after I had finished the book.

“Lucy” is a thoughtful, deep, and emotional exploration of what it means to be human, and is one of the best books I have read so far in 2010.

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