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Endangered Hardcover – October 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Thrillers are everywhere at the moment (They're the new vampires. Oh, wait, maybe the new angels? The new mermaids? Whatever) but it's incredibly rare that you find a thriller that's about alot more than just running and dodging and gunfire. Endangered is exciting and compulsively readable, sure, but it also grounds you in the terrifyingly real world of the Congo and deals with real issues and real people in a way that's smart and compassionate while still being tough minded. Sophie's journey to escape the violence around her while protecting her bonobo charge is certainly exciting but more than that it charts her evolution from an inexperienced and naive girl to a responsible and courageous (and very clever) young woman.
Hope you all go grab yourself a copy. I'm sure you'll be glad you did.
I've traveled all over Africa, and while I've never been to Kinshasa, I have spent time in the troubled east, in and around Lake Kivu. The author wrote of a Congo I recognized, a complex and sometimes horrible (and yet beautiful place). Rare is a work of fiction about Africa that gets 'it' right, but this was just such a book.
I read a few other reviews that commented on how Sophie's survival was unbelievable and that Schrefer should have placed his story in one of the all two real conflicts that the Congo has faced since 1994. I think these reviews miss the point. The real likelihood is that had this story taken place in the 'real' Congo of, say, the second Congo War of 1998, Sophie would have been dead the first week. Sometimes, to tell a great story, realism is sacrificed... that's why novels are called fiction. In any case, Endangered, rose above itself: not merely a coming of age story about a young girl, it was also a story about a nation too many of us know little about. It was a deserving finalist for the National Book Award, and would have made a worthy winner.
If you follow the book award season, you've probably already heard about this National Book Award Finalist from 2012.
Either way Endangered is an Important book about the political unrest in the Congo and the horrible state of affairs for Bonobo monkeys in the area. Sophie spends every summer with her mother in the Congo and expects this year to be much of the same. Until she becomes the reluctant (and unlikely) foster mother to a baby Bonobo she names Otto. Then war breaks out and Sophie is isolated and trapped with the Bonobos at her mother's conservation preserve.
Schrefer went to the Congo to research this book and it shows in the details and nuances of the setting and Sophie's relationship with Otto and the other Bonobos. The story is gripping and exciting. Because of the emphasis on action and survival, this is a great book for any reader. Endangered would also be a particularly strong choice for reluctant readers and/or readers who are hesitant to read books with a female narrator.
Reading Endangered it is immediately obvious why this book was a National Book Award finalist. As the story progresses it is also apparent why this book did not ultimately win. While Sophie and Otto are great characters in a page-turning story, Sophie's voice was not always convincing. Sophie is fourteen during the events of the story. While her narration is insightful and contemplative, it also often sounds like a much older character. The epilogue is also frustrating. Without getting into spoilers it felt very incongruous to have an epilogue years later and have one of the supposed key things about Sophie's life be that she is engaged and has dated several boys. There were so many other things to say, other details to share. After a totally empowering, dramatic read the epilogue brought Endangered to a close on a slightly sour note.
*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This needs to be a movie!!! My students keep asking...we would love to see it come alive!Published 2 months ago by Joseph Tosto
As a Conservation Educator, and fiction fan, I found this book captivating. It is well written and gets to the heart of the challenges all those working for environmental... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Veronica B.