Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congoby Vanessa Woods
In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country reeling from a brutal decade-long/b>
A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love and belonging.
In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country reeling from a brutal decade-long war that had claimed the lives of millions. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA. She soon discovered that many of the inhabitants of the sanctuary-ape and human alike-are refugees from unspeakable violence, yet bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.
A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings while probing life's greatest question: What ultimately makes us human? Courageous and extraordinary, this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa is about looking past the differences between animals and ourselves, and finding in them the same extraordinary courage and will to survive. For Vanessa, it is about finding her own path as a writer and scientist, falling in love, and finding a home.
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- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Vanessa Woods is a research assistant, journalist, and author of children’s books. A member of the Hominoid Psychology Research Group, she works with Duke University as well as Lola Ya Bonobo in Congo. She is also a feature writer for the Discovery Channel, and her writing has appeared in publications such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa. Her first book, It’s Every Monkey for Themselves, was published in Australia in 2007. Woods lives in North Carolina with her husband, scientist Brian Hare.
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I loved this book! I have read many memoirs, and this one is defintely one of the best. In clear, engaging prose, Vanessa Woods tells her story of how a whirwind romance with a scientist studying chimpanzees results in her arrival in the war torn Congo where she (and her husband) end up studying bonobos, another kind of ape. Like chimps, bonobos share over 98% of their DNA with humans, but unlike chimps, bonobos are peaceful apes who use sex to resolve conflicts, and with whom the author falls in love. Set against the background of the attrocities (both past and present) of the Congo, Bonobo Handshake is, as the title states, a story of love and adventure. Here is a great interview with Vanessa Woods, author of Bonobo Handshake: http://commitmentnow.com/living-a-creative-life/women-who-write/features/writer-of-the-week/feature/vanessa-woods-author-of-bonobo-handshake-a-memoir-of-love-and-adventure-in-the-congo-is-our-featured-writer
I just happened to see this book in the store window after Mrs Woods had performed a book signing. I'm so glad I went ahead and bought it. She tells such a good story and very candid. You can tell she wrote from her heart about a subject she was forced to endure,but learned to love with all she has. She writes this memoir as if she's a friend writing to you personally. The only complaint I have,is that before I knew it,I was done and had to move on to the next book.
261not including all the extras 36chapters 280 pagws in all + 2 plank pages
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I fell in love with Vanessa's journey as she dicovers a profound love for the Congo, its people and the bonobos at Lola. She starts out unsure of what she wants from life other than her new engagement to Brian and accompanies him in his research of our long-lost relatives. I laughed out loud and have a newfound appreciation of our ability to learn about ourselves vicarious these beautiful creatures. Heartwarming, inspiring and compassionate, Vanessa seemlessly teaches you the history of a people and country full of turmoil and love.
Quick but enjoyable read about living with and doing research on bonobo and an honest account of human relationships too.
I loved this book. I find Bonobos are so fasinating and the author's prose was beautiful to read. This book reads like a novel and you'll be amazed at the incredible intelligence and life style of the Bonobo. You also learn a lot about the conflicts in the Congo.
This is a marvelous book, educational, entertaining and fascinating. I couldn't put it down.