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Bonobo Handshake by Amanda Woods

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Our Not so Distant Cousin


The most endangered ape is the one that is most genetically connected to humans. It is called a bonobo and it lives in the Dominican Republic of the Congo. We know very little about the ape but thanks to Amanda Woods the author of Bonobo Handshake her story informs us a little more. The story portrays from young orphaned bonobos to old sophisticated ones. Amanda didn’t just go to the bonobo sanctuary for fun, she went to answer questions. The main questions were, “How are we defined as humans? What makes us so much smarter than our close relative?” These questions were answered with countless experiments preformed by Amanda and her husband.

Bonobo Handshake was an amazing book. It was able to capture my attention by the second page. Mrs. Woods explains her story in an inspirational yet personal way. She didn’t hold anything back. If something bad happened she wouldn’t cut the story short. In a way knowing the whole story helped me understand why she wrote this book.
This book would be great to read if you wanted to know about an endangered animal. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is fascinated but the ape species. It’s a very good natured book with a calm mind set behind the writing. Many people would never give this story a second look, but this book has completely changed my view on non-fiction.
My non-fiction book was written in first person. This made the story more individual and I felt like I could connect to the author in more of a special way. When it came to structure I would say this story follows down the path of a flashback. Amamda went from her life in Australia to her memories in Congo several times. When reading Woods’ story I noticed several fallacies. One that caught my eye right away was a slippery slope. Amanda went from going to Congo to meeting the monkeys straight to the chimpanzees and then onto the war that the country is undergoing. Another fallacy was when malaria was blamed for the death of the beloved bonobo, Mimi. The problem with this is that Mimi’s death could have been from her age, her newborn, or another disease running through the camp. This is an example of a complex cause. I can honestly say in the end that his story will stay with me forever.





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