Monday, October 17, 2016

MMGM: Endangered by Eliot Schrefer


ABOUT THE BOOK

The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos--and herself--from a violent coup.

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.

When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. It's her mother's passion, and she'd rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.


REVIEW

Schrefer has crafted a story that is both eye-opening and touching.  A story that seems historical but is very much contemporary.  Through the eyes of one young girl, the reader gets a glimpse into the deep-seeded challenges of a conflict-riddled third-world country.  Sophie has come to stay at her mother's wild animal preserve in the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Being biracial complicates things a bit (Congolese mother, white American father) as she's seen as foreign both in America and in the Congo, but she's learned to deal with that.  What she doesn't expect to happen on this visit is falling in love with an injured baby bonobo that she can't help but buy from a local bush-meat trader.  This spontaneous act sets off a series of events that leaves Sophie feeling guilty and conflicted.   And things take a turn for the worse when just after her mother sets off to release some bonobos into the wild, the Congo once again erupts into devastating violence.  As Sophie struggles to keep herself and her bonobo, Otto, alive, she's forced to face the consequences of her own actions as well as the horrible results of war.  

Despite the devastation that Sophie sees both inside and outside of the bonobo sanctuary, Sophie remains determined to survive, but at what cost.  Is it possible to survive a war without being corrupted by it?  Several close calls (including a near rape) leave Sophie desperately hoping to find her mother in all the chaos.  The book does contain numerous references to violence including burned villages, dead bodies, and vague references to rape.  I found the relationship between Sophie and Otto to be very compelling as I read quickly to find out what would happen to them.  Schrefer has created a remarkable story of survival and hope in a world gone to pieces.

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