1. How would you describe the relationship between John and Isabel?
They're good friends who respect each other a great deal. I think that they admire each others' work and character. I get the feeling that if John had not already been married he would have romantically pursued Isabel since the author hints in several places that John is physically attracted to her.
2. What was your reaction to finding out Peter's role in the explosion and capture of the apes?
I was appalled. I can't believe that Peter put Isabel, his fiancee, in serious physical danger and broke her heart by kidnapping her beloved apes and then spent time with her after the bombing, lying to her face. And even when she found out about his involvement, he still thought that he could get back into her life. Incredible!
3. Both John and Amanda ended up achieving their professional goals. Amanda ended up getting pregnant and John is excited about having a baby. Do you think this is the end to their problems? Can John and Amanda be happy?
They will certainly have more problems in their lives and in their relationship, but I think this episode in their marriage showed them that they truly do love each other and can get through anything together. In the Epilogue, they seemed really happy.
4. What did you find to be the most intriguing about the bonobos?
I thought it was very intriguing that one of the bonobos was able to identify one of the men who had participated in the bombing. Wow! I also thought it was very intriguing that the bonobos remembered Isabel so well and asked for her by name, even though they had been separated from her for quite some time.
5. Which character did you enjoy reading about the most?
I really liked John. He was such a nice, decent, stand-up kind of guy. I really admired how he cared for his wife when she was depressed and how he saved that man's life when there was the explosion at the meth lab. I also really liked Ivanka. She was certainly a surprise! I thought she might give John a really hard time, but then she ended up being a good friend to him.
6. Was the ending what you expected? Did things resolve the way you thought they would?
I had not expected that John and Amanda's careers would take off the way that they did. I was happy for them; they had worked so hard and deserved some recognition. I had expected that Isabel would reunite with the bonobos, but I didn't expect that they would end up in a facility even nicer than the language lab had been!
7. And finally, any overall thoughts or feelings that these questions haven't addressed? How would you rate this book for others? Any part that you loved? Anything you hated? SHARE!
Sometimes the level of detail on the bonobos was a bit too much. Sara Gruen had obviously done a lot of research on bonobos for this book and seemed determined to include all of her information even if it didn't really contribute to the story. The parts where the readers were taken into the bonobos' minds were overkill for me. She is a very good writer, though, and I especially enjoyed her skills at characterization. She really made the characters come alive. I'm looking forward to reading "Water for Elephants" in the near future!