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Unspoken Paperback – Bargain Price, May 3, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What can animals tell us about God? Do animals have souls? The prolific Hunt (author of more than 100 books) offers a compelling story that asks both questions. Sema is a 250-pound western lowland gorilla referred to as "my girl" by 30-year-old Glee Granger, who has raised Sema from a newborn at her home away from the zoo. Glee teaches Sema sign language and hopes to show her how to read, proving that gorillas can assimilate abstract concepts and use their imaginations. Sema's talents cause the director of the Thousand Oaks Zoo in Clearwater, Fla., to demand her return so he can exploit her abilities to help fund zoo projects. Helping Sema's assimilation into the gorilla habitat is "by-the-book" Brad Fielding, a potential romantic interest for Glee. Hunt knows how to craft believable, interesting characters, and readers will find themselves drawn to the lovable Sema, the conflicted Glee and Glee's scripture-spouting "Nana," the proprietor of a Florida motel. The tension accelerates after a near-death trauma, when Sema begins signing to the nonreligious Glee about a "shiny man" who offers insights about God. Hunt handles this unusual and potentially touchy plot development adeptly. The ending may seem abrupt, but the Christy Award–winning Hunt will please many of her faith fiction fans as well as animal lovers with this poignant tale. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"In Unspoken you'll meet my girl Sema, one of the most unforgettable characters I've ever encountered. She will touch your heart and expand the horizons of your mind. As for Angie Hunt . . . well, she's a stinky nut. To appreciate that complement, you'll have to read this captivating book!" --Randy Alcorn, author of Safely Home and Heaven --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0849944821
  • ASIN: B000ENBRZA
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,520,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

Now that her two children have reached their twenties, Angie and her youth-pastor husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards--one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City. Afterward, the dog gave out paw-tographs at the airport.

When she's not home writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course.

Readers may visit her web site at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James A. White on July 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unspoken was an excellent book, for many reasons. The descriptions of the sign language and the ways Sema, the gorilla, used it were extraordinary. Hunt seems to have research her material well, and she present Glee in a firmly scientific, yet also real, manner. Sema is also characterized quite well. In being able to "speak," she takes on the role of a small child, and an endearing one at that.

The plot revolves largely around the zoo that owns Sema demanding her return, and Glee adjusting to a job at said zoo in order to be near Sema and continue her research. Much of the actions in the book come from Glee's maternal determination not to let anyone harm her "girl", and the zoo director's equally strong determination to exploit Sema to enhance the zoo's reputation.

The latter third of the book seems somewhat rushed, and the last 20 pages especially so. While Hunt adeptly handles the subject matter of animals and God, she does so quickly, and it seems more of a subplot, instead of the entire plot itself. The subsequent denouement is, as said, especially rushed. The book however does finish well; its ending is the only one that could keep the characters from stagnating in a status quo, and is ultimately satisfying.

Bottom Line: Although the end is rushed, and the God plot isn't as strong as it could be, the characterizations and the detail of Sema's learning and personality, as well as the uniqueness of the story, more than make up for any deficiencies. Definitely recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unspoken is incredible in subject matter, plot, and Angela Hunt's excellent writing. But what is most remarkable is the humanity AND divinity that is displayed through one of God's dear creatures, a gorilla. This is a fascinating read, both in subject matter, emotional content, and above all, message of hope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth S. Kalman on April 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unspoken caught my attention and had me hooked in the very first scene. The story was fascinating and very believable. I was enchanted with the "voice" of Sema the gorilla. This book is hard to put down! It's a great gift choice with a broad appeal to many readers. A "must read" for animal lovers especially!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Louis N. Gruber VINE VOICE on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Glee Granger is finishing her dissertation, but actually, her entire life revolves around Sema, the eight-year-old gorilla she has raised since birth, and has taught American Sign Language. Glee lives with Sema and spends every waking moment fussing over the gorilla and pursuing her research into ape-human communication, which she imagines will lead to unheard of breakthroughs. Meanwhile the zoo from which she kidnapped Sema at birth--for very plausible reasons--is now demanding the gorilla's return.

As the story unfolds, Glee reluctantly returns Sema to the zoo, and is placed on the zoo's payroll. Life is a series of difficult trade-offs. The zoo management seems more interested in publicity than caring for the animals. Glee has difficulty relating to her boss, Fielding, who seems to alternate between love interest and lethal enemy. Glee's only sources of comfort are the ever cheerful gorilla, and her elderly grandmother who is constantly pestering her with religion.

I won't say any more about the plot. You will have to read this book for yourself. Suffice it to say that talking to the animals is not a one-way street. Sometimes you have to listen to them too, even if what they say sounds pretty bizarre, like, say, talking about God. So, is Glee listening? Is the gorilla a little psychotic? Or is she on to something astounding?

This is an intriguing subject and I wish author Hunt had done a better job with it. The book is over-written, with pages of breathless emotion and enough sentimentality to drown a horse (or gorilla). Glee is an unlikeable, self-centered, arrogant and touchy individual. The other characters are equally one-dimensional. Although the author has obviously done a lot of research on gorillas, the animals in this book are not quite believable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved UNSPOKEN! After not even being able to finish THE AWAKENING I was afraid Angela Hunt was done with giving us wonderful refreshing stories but she has redeemed herself with Sema's story. I couldn't put the book down at all and loved the way Sema was so much like a real person. I learned a great deal while being thoroughly entertained. Thanks Angela and make sure the next one is as good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By FaithfulReader.com on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Glee Granger is a mom, albeit an adoptive one. She is the mother to Sema, a gorilla whom she rescued from its birth mother when the new mom didn't begin feeding Sema immediately. Glee, a zookeeper, feared Sema's mother might eat her --- something gorillas have been known to do.

Thus began Glee's journey into full-time motherhood. Living off an inheritance from her parents' estate, this single woman has devoted all her time, energy, and very person into Sema's growth and development. Believing Sema to be special --- for she uses a computer, signs to communicate, watches videos, and expresses emotions, playfulness and sadness (as well as the rest of humanity's wide range of "attitude") --- Glee is determined to keep "her girl" out of the clutches of a zoo environment.

Sadly, after eight years of rearing and loving Sema on her private land, the director of the Thousand Oaks Zoo sees Sema as a moneymaker and demands her return. Even though Glee is crushed by this development, her lawyer-brother helps to negotiate better terms for both Sema and Glee. Surprisingly, Glee is offered a position at the zoo and this allows her at least daily minimal contact with Sema. For Glee this job comes with an old "boyfriend," Brad Fielding, who's now her boss. Glee doubts whether or not she or he will be able to mend their fences, professional or otherwise. Still, Glee agrees to transport Sema to the zoo's facilities to begin her orientation with the other gorillas.

As Sema is quarantined for a short period of time, Glee is shocked to discover how excited Sema is to be acquainted with her fellow gorillas, signing these requests daily. As the days pass, Glee also is confounded by her boss's conciliatory behavior. Hmmm...
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