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Gorillas in the Mist
Gorillas in the Mist
by Dian Fossey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.96
128 used & new from $2.22

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars

, January 1, 2002

This review is from: Gorillas in the Mist (Paperback)
Don't Judge a Book by the Class your Being Forced to Read it in.

Early in the year(2001-02), we were assigned to read a book in high school Biology class. Not just any book though, one that had to relate to biology. Upon hearing this, a loud groan, mine probably being the loudest, arose from the class. Of course at the time I would have never thought so, but my groan would actually be wrong.

After much thinking, in other words procrastinating, I chose GORILLAS IN THE MIST by Dian Fossey. I had heard my mom say I should read it (I guess she liked it), which, honestly, usually means very little-I prefer to read books I choose-but that helped in my choosing this time.

After another month of "thinking", and my mom reminding me every night the report was due soon, I finally went out and got it. I started reading it right away, only the cover though. After another week I cracked the cover and actually began reading. Not just the inside cover, or the table of contents, but the first chapter.

Almost immediately (as soon as she actually arrived in Africa) I was met by a beautiful, lush environment. I was surprised she could explain it so well in words, and it made me wonder how much more beautiful it is in real life. This story was both funny and sad.

I loved the way she wrote. She left out no detail. You almost feel like you are in the forest, or in the campsite. She left out no details about their behavior either. Sometimes I forgot I was reading about gorillas, and thought I was reading about humans. Their actions were extremely close to that of humans. Their curiosity was both interesting and funny. Even after she got to know them really well, and they got to know her, a simple thing like a camera could set them off into a frenzy. Except for I gorilla, I can't recall his name, who fell in love with Her (Dian Fossey) camera gear. If she didn't guard it close enough he would take it and play with it. She spent a lot of money on lenses replacing them (The pictures she took were typically really funny). One of the baby gorillas kept walking over to her while the group was sleeping, and the mother kept coming over and taking it back. She estimated the baby to be about 12 inches tall.

Although it was really funny, a lot of it was sad too. The area where the Gorillas lived was suppose to be a National Park to preserve the wild life. It seemed to be pretty much a failure. Because of overpopulation in the area, the park has been rapidly diminishing for terrace farming purposes. On top of that poachers freely moved in and out of the park. Although few poachers were after the gorillas, they were after the native Antelope, the poachers snare traps frequently caught Gorillas. The Gorillas could usually break out but the snare would stay on them, and, if the snare was tight enough, the gorillas may die. It was sad when you got to know a Gorilla really well and then something happened to it and it died. One of the saddest is near the end of the book when poachers cut digits head, hands, and feet off.

From my review so far you probably wonder why I only gave it four stars. My reasoning behind this is parts of it were dry. During the chapter she talks about the bloodlines of all of the groups and their gorillas I really lost interest. My other reason is it was hard to make a timeline for it in my head. I had a lot of trouble ordering events. The chapters are all written about a topic (Heredity, Environment, other wild life, etc.) not chronologically ordered. Other than those two reasons I thought the story was excellent. It made me wish I could do more to preserve that area. It also helped me understand how humans can effect and area if they don't respect it. Last, it makes me hope such a beautiful creature can beat extinction.

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