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Threatened Hardcover – February 25, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
As was the case with Endangered (the first in a quartet of great ape books, with each focusing on a different one: bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas), Threatened is not your average YA novel. It's a fine, well-written piece of realistic fiction that reads almost like a compelling non-fiction novel, and it has a purpose: to raise awareness of something that's very important.
Threatened tells the story of Luc, an orphaned teenager (I think that's his age) living day to day in Franceville, a city in Gabon (a small country in Africa, I believe). He spends his days trying to make money to pay off his debut so he can gain freedom from the orphan-taker-inner, Monsieur Tatagani. After Luc's mother died of the worm, he was put in Tatagani's care (a wretched man, by the way) until he could pay off his mother's hospital bill. But after his little sister dies, too, Luc finds himself without a family and alone in the world, except for the fellow orphans in Tatagani's care.
But things change when Luc tries to steal from Prof, a professor who's going Inside (the jungle is Inside, and what's not is Outside) to study chimpanzees, or what Luc calls mock men. Luc ends up going with Prof into the jungle, and it's there that he stumbles into more than just the wilderness: chimpanzees, a different kind of life, and a family.
I don't know if you know this about me, but I have MEGA LOVE for animals. Like, if I had to choose between saving an animal or a human in a fire, I'd probably choose the animal. (Okay, not really. Maybe.) So I was immediately drawn to this set of Schrefer's books because they had a large focus on animals, and not just any animals, but primates!Read more ›
Eliot Schrefer's previous novel, ENDANGERED (a finalist for the National Book Award), was set in the Congo and focused on a girl who befriends a bonobo and must help the two of them survive in the wake of deadly violence. Schrefer himself admits in an afterword to THREATENED, his new novel, that chimpanzees "got a bad rap" in ENDANGERED. "Compared to the peaceful, matriarchal bonobos, they seemed like abusive villains," Schrefer writes. What won him over, he notes, was reading Jane Goodall's memoirs, which helped him gain understanding of the complex chimp society and recognition of the apes' commonalities (for better or for worse) with their closest relatives, humans.
In THREATENED, Schrefer explores these common ties through the character of Luc, a boy growing up on the streets in the African country of Gabon. Having lost the rest of his family to AIDS, Luc has grown up fending for himself, working odd jobs to repay the debt he owes to Monsieur Tatagani, in whose home he sleeps at night. A botched attempt to rob a man passing through town results not in an arrest, as Luc had feared, but in a job offer --- Prof, as the man asks to be called, is headed into the jungle to study chimpanzees and needs a research assistant. Luc is terrified of the chimps --- one of his most vivid memories of his mother is her story that the chimps are "mock men," that they are what people turn into if they stay out too late at night.
But when Prof pays off his debt to Monsieur Tatagani, Luc can hardly turn down the offer, and he soon finds himself headed deep into the jungle, to a place where few Gabonese go.Read more ›
And I'm happy to report that the second book in the series, Threatened (which deals with the bonobo's better-known cousin, the chimpanzee), is a small masterpiece, gorgeously written and profoundly moving.
Like Endangered, Threatened focuses on a young person's relationship with a great ape family--in this case, young Luc's relationship with the chimpanzees of his home country, Gabon. An orphan whose mother and younger sister died of AIDS and whose father abandoned his surviving child, Luc slaves away for a vicious debt collector to pay his mother's medical bill. But then salvation arrives in the form of a mysterious Muslim who calls himself Prof, a researcher intent on becoming Africa's answer to Jane Goodall. Though Luc joins Prof merely to escape his troubles, he forms a stronger connection to the man once they reach the jungles of Gabon and encounter a small and fragile family of chimpanzees. There Luc must decide which bonds to honor: his allegiance to Prof, or his commitment to the non-human subjects of Prof's research.
Threatened is a character-driven novel, with wonderful portraits not only of the frightened Luc and the shady, haunted Prof but of the chimpanzees whom Luc names Drummer and Mango.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was really great book. You really felt like you were getting non-fiction insights into the chimp community. If more people read books like this there would be less poaching. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gerry Pafford
This book was purchased for a middle school library and the kids love this series!Published 7 months ago by Sprouts
This is the second book by Eliot Schrefer that I have read, Both raise awareness regarding animals Endangered and Threatened. Different characters in each book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by D-Man
I want to crawl into this book and live forever with Luc and “his” chimpanzees. Mr. Schrefer’s adoration and admiration of these astounding creatures is obvious and contagious. Read morePublished 16 months ago by jv poore
For readers looking for endangered species/survival fiction -- give THREATENED a try! After his excellent (and well-reviewed) book ENDANGERED, author Eliot Schrefer uses... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Maggie Knapp