BookBrowse Reviews Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods

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Bonobo Handshake

A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

by Vanessa Woods

Bonobo Handshake
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2010, 278 pages
    Jun 2011, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book



The memoir of a young woman who follows her fiancé to the war-torn Congo to study bonobo apes

Bonobo Handshake is equal parts behavioral science, history, personal memoir, and coming-of-age tale. I usually consider it a mistake when an author tries to cram too much into a book, trying to be all things to all readers, as the end result is often a work that does a poor job covering all aspects of the chosen material. Vanessa Woods, however, manages to pull off this balancing act in a remarkably satisfying manner. One topic flows into the next naturally, almost conversationally, providing connection and continuity between diverse subjects. This allows her to cover a lot of ground without any one subject bogging down the narrative or becoming too dry. It does prevent her from going into a great deal of depth, particularly when covering African history, but she provides enough of an overview so that the reader understands the context in which her memoir takes place.

This is ...

Interesting Link
A short history of The Congo River and the two countries that border it, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and The Republic of the Congo, in the sidebar and additional information to Blood River.

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