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“Does time ever flow when you’re caught up in this one! . . . A fast-paced . . . book you’ll keep on reading, through heat or cold, rain or snow or sleet.” — All Things Considered (NPR)
Primatologist Jenny Lowe is studying bonobo chimpanzees deep in the Congo when she is caught in a deadly civil war that leaves a fellow researcher dead and his daughter, Lucy, orphaned. Realizing that the child has no living relatives, Jenny begins to care for Lucy as her own. But as she reads the late scientist’s notebooks, she discovers that Lucy is the result of a shocking experiment, and that the adorable, magical, wonderful girl she has come to love is an entirely new hybrid species—half human, half ape.
“Lucy is fundamentally a story about love. . . . Heartbreaking and heartwarming, hard to put down and hard to forget.” —The Miami Herald
“Outstanding. . . . [Lucy] is beach reading with bite.” —Chicago Tribune
“Lucy is an appealing character—a bright, perceptive, lonely, observant adolescent…. [Gonzales] makes . . . her transformation from a shy, unsure outsider into an all-American teenager thoroughly believable” —The New York Times
“Michael Crichton fans will go ape for this fascinating … Frankenstein tale.” —People
“Gonzales poses some big questions that readers will think about long after turning the last page. Lucy is a great read—and not just for adults.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Gonzales’s Lucy is an improbably delightful young lady. . . . Lucy pulls the reader in because of the sweet girl at its center, but the novel also makes one think about what it means to be human, and how love can be a bridge to understanding and acceptance.” —BookPage
“Timely and provocative. . . . Gonzales injects [his dialogue] with doses of frivolity, wit, and a youthful insight at once frightfully innocent and calculatingly wise to the power of media and technology.” —The Boston Globe
“[A] coming-of-age-except-I’m-also-part-bonobo biotech thriller. . . . This is an enjoyable ride that makes you think about what it means to be human.” —Outside
“The clever ending Mr. Gonzales has come up with for Lucy marks a complete departure from the Frankenstein template, and it’s oddly satisfying on an emotional level.” —The New York Times
“Lucy is more than a high-school drama, a fish-out-of-water novel about how a hybrid girl tries to fit in at a suburban Chicago high school. . . . This Lucy is an action-packed politically charged thriller that puts evolution forth as an unassailable fact, and raises ethical and moral questions about biotechnical science, government power and the morality of leadership.” —Chicago Tribune
“Laurence Gonzales presents us with a captivating lead character. . . . Part science thriller, part tender novel, Lucy is written with a full awareness of the evil people are capable of. Gonzales, like Mary Shelley before him, shows us on the brink of a terrible knowledge.” —The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)
“Harks back to the science fiction of the mid-20th century. . . . Lucy [is] a likeable and thoroughly intriguing character with a unique perspective. . . . Reveals a generous spirit and a flair for suspense.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“Love and loss are at the core of this unusual story that analyzes life, relationships and issues of evolution.” —Woman’s Day
“Gonzales excels at creating universal moments.” —The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
“Shrewd social critique. . . . Gonzales raises profound questions about identity, family, animal and human rights, and genetic engineering without compromising the ever-escalating suspense. Lucy is irresistible, her predicament wrenching, and Gonzales’s imaginative, sweet-natured, hard-charging, and deeply inquisitive thriller will be a catalyst for serious thought and debate.” —Booklist
“A riveting, moving and informative survival story.” —San Antonio Express-News
“Lucy is much more than an ‘ape’ and this novel is much more than just a summer beach book.” —Curled Up With A Good Book
“Gonzales does a great job of keeping the action moving at a fast pace. . . . Gonzales comes back to the question of what it means to be human again and again. . . . Reading Lucy is an interesting way to confront this question and find your own answer.” —The Advocate
Q: It has been over 25 years since you wrote your last novel. What made you decide to come back to fiction after decades as a successful non-fiction writer and journalist?
A: During all those years I continued to write fiction, but I was never satisfied with the results. I kept writing novels as a form of practice. I felt that if I just kept at it, I'd eventually succeed. Then Lucy got a hold on me and wouldn't turn me loose. She was one of those fictional people who simply torments you until you set her free. Even then I had to wrestle with the book for a very long time.
Q: The premise of Lucy is a daring one. How did you come up with the idea of a girl who is part ape?
A: I was studying petroglyphs in the high desert country of New Mexico around 1994. There is something deliciously spooky and mysterious about that country. As I was walking out there all alone, looking at those eerie pictures that someone had made maybe 1,000 years ago, I had this vision of a girl coming out of the rocks from an ancient time-this beautiful creature emerging into sunlight. It struck me that she was half human and half something else, something very ancient. I was transfixed by her. Something about her appearance made me think that she was a cross between a human and an ape. And I thought: This is really possible now. A world of possibilities opened up.
Once I had fixed on the idea, I couldn't put it out of my mind. I was working in Hollywood at the time, writing screenplays, so my first attempt to write Lucy was actually a screenplay. But it wasn't right. It took me the next 14 years to work it out. A few years ago I was talking with Cormac McCarthy and he asked me what I was writing next. I told him that I was writing a novel and he asked why I would want to do that, since there hadn't been a really good novel written in decades. I nearly quit working on Lucy at that point because it was so discouraging. But in the summer of 2007, my younger daughter, Amelia, was home from college and I told her the premise of the novel. When she heard it, she insisted that I press on. She peppered me with ideas and notes of encouragement until I had completed a first draft. Then I showed it to my wife, Debbie, and my older daughter, Elena, and they both exploded with excitement about Lucy. So I was moved to really go all the way with it.
Q: The character of Lucy is above all a real girl who we get to know very well. Was her voice and personality difficult for you to write?
A: I have always been more comfortable writing from the point of view of a woman. And I raised two daughters, so grasping a teenage girl's character and behavior seemed pretty natural to me. I also had a lot of help from my daughters and their friends. I knew from the start that in order for the novel to work, it had to be primarily a novel about people, not about ideas. In other words, Lucy had to steal the reader's heart. Once she stole my heart, I knew I could do it.
Q: You are an expert on survival and your non-fiction work Deep Survival has gone on to become a best-seller and be published in six languages. How did your work on survival influence Lucy?
A: I think one of the reasons it took me so long to write Lucy was that I didn't know enough when I began. But I spent years reading in psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience, the evolution of humans, and other areas that bear on what it means to be human. That research gave me the background I needed to understand who Lucy is, how she might behave, and so on. I also think that I matured as a writer and became more skilled at controlling the material.
Q: Why did you decide to focus on bonobos as opposed to another type of ape?
A: Bonobos are no more plausible than chimpanzees as potential candidates for breeding with humans. In fact, my original idea was for a cross between a chimpanzee and a human. But then around 2005, I was doing research for my book Everyday Survival and was looking into the origins of humans. I heard that the largest colony of bonobos in the world was just an hour from my home in Milwaukee. So I went there to meet them. I fell in love with them. They're sexy and clever, and they have complex language and a matriarchal social structure in which the guys do what the women tell them to do. As they got to know me better, they would come to the wire at the back of the enclosure and put their fingers through the fence, imploring me to touch them. Their hands are beautiful and so very human. There seemed no way to write Lucy without them.
Like Lucy herself, these bonobos are caught between two worlds. They can't go back to Congo, even if we allowed it. They're not fit for living in the wild and even if they survived, they'd be killed by bush meat hunters there or by the civil war. And yet it is so sad that they are kept in a cage. I am working to make it possible for people who read Lucy to donate money to improve their living quarters.
Q: A particularly interesting concept in the novel is what Lucy calls "The Stream"-the way that animals in the jungle communicate with each other through non-verbal signs. Is this a real phenomenon? Do you think it's an ability that humans have lost?
A: I did a lot of research on what's known as non-verbal communication. It's real. Animals communicate through a wide variety of signals from body language and facial expression to pheromones and smell. Humans are no exception. They just tend to ignore those channels, both because we have spoken words and because we don't need to pay attention in modern society. We have not lost The Stream. It's always there. If we learn to pay attention, it will come back to us when we need it.
Q: In Lucy you tackle many serious moral and ethical issues, but at the center of it all is the question of what it means to be human. Did writing Lucy's story help you see this question in a different light?
A: Just as science has no fixed definition of what it means to be male or female, it also has no clear way to define what it means to be human, unless we apply a strict genetic definition. And even then it gets murky. Using genetics, you could argue that someone with any genetic mutation is not human, and I don't think we're ready to do that. Many scientists argue, for example, that chimpanzees and bonobos should be classified as another variety of our species, Homo sapiens, or that humans should be considered another form of chimpanzee.
My face-to-face contact with bonobos, along with my research into our ancestors-the apes and early humans-made me see that we are essentially apes with all of our ape-like behaviors still intact. The first time I went to meet the bonobos in the Milwaukee Zoo, I walked up to the very thick glass behind which they lived. I looked in on a dozen or so of those individuals who were engaged in various activities-grooming and talking and climbing around. As I stood there, one of them came flying at me from somewhere high above on the end of a long rope and kicked me in the face with all his weight and momentum. If it had not been for the glass, he'd have snapped my neck and killed me. That was such a wonderfully human thing to do-to kill the stranger, as so many of us are still doing. A moment later, he was tenderly kissing another bonobo. Writing Lucy definitely shaped the way I view humans. We are still so close to our roots.
Q: Has anyone ever really attempted to create a hybrid human?
A: The history of attempts to breed humans with apes is spotty, but it has definitely been attempted. The earliest effort that I know of was undertaken by a Russian biologist named Il'ya Ivanovich Ivanov. In 1926 he was sent to Africa by the Russian Academy of Sciences to inseminate female chimpanzees with human sperm. The effort was supported by the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Ivanov did inseminate several chimpanzees, though without success. I don't know of any published account of breeding a human with an ape successfully, but it would not surprise me if it had been done in some remote place beyond the normal controls. I don't think it's likely that someone would publish a paper about such an experiment if it had been successful.
Q: Do you think that science is moving too fast or too blindly in areas of biotechnology and genetics? A line from Jurassic Park comes to mind: "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
A: No, I think that it's good to move forward in those areas. In any event, there's no stopping us. Human history shows that if we know something is possible, we'll do it. And if most people think it's impossible, then someone will surprise us all and do it anyway. The question isn't whether or not we'll have fantastic abilities in genetics and biotechnology. We already have some of them. The question is how we'll use those abilities. If creating a human-ape hybrid is not possible today, it will be possible tomorrow. And we always do whatever is possible just as quickly as we can arrange it. All good sense told us not to build an atom bomb. But we did it because we could. So I think now is as good a time as any to think about these issues.
Q: Some of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the novel come from the reactions of certain groups to Lucy once the public learns about her story. Were you drawing parallels to any particular instances of intolerance that we face in society today?
A: The story I told about the bonobo who wanted to kill me illustrates the roots of our intolerance of those who are not like us. It is in our nature to protect our own group and reject other groups. The bulk of the novel was written during the administration of George W. Bush, during which violent intolerance was elevated to the level of a national ideal. Add to that the staggering ignorance, religious fanaticism, and power-mad dishonesty of that group of people, and you get a pretty good idea of what I was aiming for in the novel. I actually went into prisons and met some of the white power fanatics there. You don't have to look very far to find the kind of people I write about in Lucy.
Q: Do you expect any backlash from groups (similar to those in your book) who consider the theory that humans evolved from apes to be untrue and would find an experiment like the one in Lucy to be an abomination?
A: Yes, I expect there to be controversy about Lucy. The book puts evolution front and center as a fact about which there is no debate. In addition, there is a powerful conflict between who Lucy is and how she got here. Lucy's engaging personality makes you like her. But there is a disturbing dissonance when you realize what was done to bring her to life. That tension has to be upsetting. You don't have to be a zealot to think that breeding a human with an ape is beyond the pale. But what do you then do with this marvelous person called Lucy? I think there will be some pretty heated rhetoric. And that's good, because we should debate this before it becomes a reality.
Q: Is there an underlying message that you hope readers will take away from reading Lucy?
A: Lucy does indeed raise many ethical, moral, and philosophical issues that are useful to think about and debate. One important issue we haven't touched on yet is the way people think about other animals. Recent scientific study shows us that many animals are extremely intelligent and even self-aware. Some birds, for example, have consciousness that is not unlike our own. Whales and dolphins are very likely just as smart as we are. I hope that people come away from reading Lucy with a greater respect for animals of all sorts and perhaps a greater reluctance to destroy them simply because they don't understand them. I also think it's important to point out that I wrote most of this novel between the ages of 59 and 61. Part of what kept me going was that I had had the privilege of knowing Norman Maclean, the author of A River Runs Through It, who didn't start writing until he was in his seventies. I hope that this book serves as an inspiration to others. It's never too late, so never give up.
But at its heart, Lucy is a coming-of-age novel about a wonderful young girl discovering herself and the world in which she finds herself. Lucy says it herself: All teenagers have feelings like hers. The message is: Lucy is a novel. It's a story, and as such, it's meant to make people turn the pages and laugh and cry. If they happen to have deep thoughts along the way, that's good, too. But if all Lucy does is to make you stay up late reading, then that's enough for me.
1. Lucy opens in the war-torn jungles of Congo (pp. 7-13). In what ways do the setting and the chaotic events lay the groundwork for the novel's themes? What aspects of Lucy’s demeanor reflect an ordinary, expected reaction to the tragedy that has occurred and which ones strike you as unusual? Does Jenny’s training as an anthropologist color her initial responses to Lucy?
2. How do the descriptions of Lucy’s first days in Chicago capture the difficulties of adjusting to a new environment (pp. 20-23)? What details help to create the sense of displacement and alienation Lucy feels? What insights do her dreams and memories offer into the emotions she is experiencing?
3. Discuss Lucy’s reactions to the shopping mall (p. 29) and the grocery store (p. 34). What message do they convey about American culture? To what extent does Lucy express basic impulses most of us have been taught to suppress?
4. Gonzales cites several actual attempts to create a human-ape hybrid (pp. 46-47). What impact does learning about these efforts, as well as Dr. Stone’s detailed reports on his methods, have on your readiness to accept Lucy’s existence?
5. Do you agree with Jenny that “No one would do that today, because of all the ethical issues involved. Besides, no one would have a scientific reason to do it. (p. 47)? How has the exposure of highly questionable experiments performed in the recent past influenced the ethical standards in science? What reasons might a scientist give for pursuing an “experiment” like Lucy today?
6. Discuss Dr. Stone’s motivation for creating Lucy. Does his desire to protect the bonobo from extinction distort his ability to recognize the implications of his project? Does his assertion that “humankind . . . is rapidly destroying itself. Something must change in human nature” and that “Lucy, in short, is the best argument in my defense” (p. 50) reflect scientific hubris, idealistic naïveté, or a credible, if extreme, reaction to real threats facing the world today?
7. What does Lucy’s explanation and acceptance of her father’s mission (p. 53) reveal about the disparity between his ambitions as a scientist and his role as a parent? Why did he fail to see the ramifications of his plans?
8. “Jenny understood that her own inability to see what Lucy was, despite the clues, would work in their favor . . . . When people encountered Lucy, so bright, so pretty, and in some ways such a normal teenager, the truth would be the furthest thing from their minds” (p. 62). What do Jenny’s assumptions demonstrate about how people are judged? Do the reactions of Harry (p. 39) and Jenny’s mother (pp. 85-86) confirm or contradict her assumptions?
9. Lucy’s ability to tune into “The Stream”—the nonverbal communication of animals in the natural world—is one of her most intriguing qualities. What particular passages best illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of her connection to nature? Lucy discovers that her classmates are “at home in The Stream, while the adults seem to have lost it” (p. 67). Does this perception ring true to you? Does it offer a fresh point of view on familiar social conduct and interactions?
10. Jenny “could tell that Dr. Mayer was a mischief maker of the worst sort” (p. 73). Given Lucy’s outburst of violence, are the school psychologist’s concerns and questions inappropriate?
11. In the aftermath of their meeting, “the accumulation of clues had Jenny wondering if people were having the same unconscious moment of recognition that she had when she first encountered Lucy . . . . Everything from her smell to her strength to her exotic and charming looks poured out the message that she was not of the same species” (p. 84). Is Jenny’s theory that people retain an animal-like instinct for recognizing their own species convincing?
12. When she sees videos of teenage girls on YouTube, Lucy is struck by the similarities between their behavior and the behavior of bonobos in the jungle (pp. 100-101). If you have read books or seen television programs offering evidence that elements of human nature and behavior can be traced to our biological heritage, discuss how Gonzales weaves the findings (or theories) of primatologists and other scientists into the narrative.
13. Once the truth about Lucy is made public, the challenge of protecting her takes on new urgency. Discuss how the news of her existence brings out both the best and the worst in human nature. How would you characterize the reactions of Dr. Syropolous (p. 133), Amanda (pp. 139-143), and Harry (p. 144)? What does the behavior of others—from the television interviewer (p. 157) to the airport security guard (pp. 158-159) to the Randalls (pp. 163-164), to Charlie Revere (p. 179)—demonstrate about people’s willingness to accept all that Lucy represents?
14. In light of the forces aligned against her, is Lucy’s abduction and incarceration inevitable? What resources does Lucy draw upon to survive the humiliations and cruelty she is subject to? What role does her education and intelligence play? In what ways do her natural instincts, powers of intuition, and sheer physical strength help her plan and execute her escape?
15. The memorandum from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to the U.S. Navy Medical Corps (pp. 181-183); the article by an evolutionary biologist at Stanford (pp. 185-186); Lucy’s testimony in Congress and the response by Senator Rhodes (pp. 187-191) present wide-ranging and contradictory opinions about how Lucy should be treated. Which arguments are the most compelling and why?
16. In many ways, the controversy surrounding Lucy encapsulates the disputes and enmities that trouble our society today. How does it relate to such matters as the debates about biological and genetic research; the conflict between evolutionists and “creationists”; the treatment of outsiders or people deemed “different” in some way; and the impetus behind the animal rights and environmentalist movements. What observations in the novel can be read as critical commentary on recent American political and military policies?
17. In an interview, Gonzales said “(A)t its heart, Lucy is a coming-of-age story about a wonderful young girl discovering herself and the world in which she finds herself” (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Lucy/Laurence-Gonzales/e/9780307593665/?itm=1#ITV). How does Gonzales brings to life the mixture of insecurity, confusion, defiance, and the search for self-definition of adolescence? Do Lucy’s recollections of her childhood, her losses, and the things she gains provide insights into the changes and transformations that are part of a universal experience (pp. 205-207)?
18. Stories about the creation of hybrid or artificial humans and life forms are part of our literary and cinematic history. How does Lucy fit into this tradition? Why do you think Gonzales presents Lucy as a nearly perfect combination of human and bonobo traits?
19. What does Lucy suggest about the distinctions we make between species? What light does it cast on the limitations of using biology (DNA structure) to define the borders between humans and other animals?
20. Scientists have made remarkable advances in genetic research (for instance, uncovering the genes responsible for some illnesses), and have achieved success in cross-breeding various animals. Do the potential benefits of research into human genetics outweigh the opposition expressed by many different groups? What historic scientific discoveries flouted accepted wisdom, religious teachings, or ethical standards, yet are now universally accepted? (For example, up until the late nineteenth century, surgeons washing their hands). Are there moral or ethical limits to what scientists should pursue? Did reading Lucy change your attitude about current trends in science?
(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit: www.readinggroupcenter.com.)
Posted July 1, 2010
Jenny is a scientist working in a remote part of Africa. She goes to visit a collegue who experimented with bonobo apes. She finds that he was murdered by raiders and that there is a young girl still alive under one of the dead bonobos. The girl says that her name is Lucy and that she is the daughter of the murdered scientist and her mother is also dead.
Jenny doesn't want to leave the girl alone so she takes her back to her camp and learns that Lucy has a British passport so she must have some relatives in England. Jenny tries to locate them to no avail so she decides to take Lucy back to the states with her.
Jenny and Lucy immediately bond and Jenny decides that she want to formally adopt Lucy. Lucy exhibits a lot of strange behaviors including liking to be naked and sleeping in trees. Also, Lucy has superior strength to anyone her age and seems to have advanced senses (hearing, smell). Jenny enrolls Lucy in the local high school and Lucy has a tough time adjusting. Jenny starts to read the scientist's notebooks for some clues to Lucy's behavior. She discovers that Lucy may not be fully human.
This book is full of current political themes such as misuse of the Patriot Act by unscrupulous government officials, torture, and other devices used to study prisoners. Also, when the government learns about Lucy the controversy that errupts is like the themes of stem cell research, gay marraige, etc. Parts of the book reminded Cornelius and Zira in the movie Escape From the Planet of the Apes and the controversy over them having a baby that could talk.
Overall the book is a good thought provoking read. I found it difficult to rate it with five stars because of the way Jenny is able to bring Lucy to the US and adopt her. Also, there are things that happen later on in the book that had me shaking my head at how ridiculous they were.
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2010
With the death of her associate in the Congo, primate anthropologist Jenny Lowe rescues her crony's daughter Lucy as the civil war continues to go unabated and ugly. Jenny and Lucy go to the anthropologist's home in Chicago where the girl acts weird, but not shocking as she lived in the jungle.
Jenny begins to reconsider the child's skills displaying abnormal strength and superhuman agility. However, it is Lucy's seemingly instinctive preference to stay in trees rather than the ground that leads Jenny to realize that her tweener is a hybrid mix of half human and half pygmy chimpanzee. DNA testing confirms what the two females sort of knew. The kid insists she is a humanzee who reads the classics and can speak in several tongues, but has incredible senses well beyond the human range. Scientists make a bid to study her and HSD declares she doesn't have any rights because she is not human and could be a terrorist
This deep look at what is human will have readers pondering the definition while wondering with a nod to Frankenstein although Lucy is charming how far science should go. The story line is fast-paced while introducing readers to a myriad of complex social, scientific and religious problematic convergences. Although the ending feels overly neat after how complicated the questions of Lucy's human rights as a hybrid, fans will relish this thought provoking powerhouse.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2013
Posted January 20, 2012
Posted September 11, 2010
Posted August 3, 2010
I thought this sounded like a good vacation read and once I started I couldn't put it down. I found myself getting totally wrapped up in the story and truly feeling for Lucy and Jenny and the ordeal they must face. I would love another book from the author following up on the aftermath that is only touched on briefly at the end of this book. I also think it would be neat to hear more from the perspective of Lucy's father and her early years.
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Posted July 23, 2010
I loved this book and read it in just a few days. My heart bled for poor Lucy and her horrible experiences in the human world. It's very hard to put down and I was right into it from the very first pages.
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Posted July 17, 2010
What an amazing read! You will love the characters, the story, and especially how it relates to how you personally view humanity. Bravo!
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Posted October 30, 2013
Posted October 3, 2013
Posted November 17, 2011
The storyline was lame, the writing was extremely poor, the reader had no empathy for the characters because they were so incredibly 'dumb'. Would love to know what book the 5 star reviewers read because it certainly couldn't have been the same book I read. I gave it to 2 friends who said they got through half and sent it back to me because of the boredom factor. I had to literally push myself to read to the end because I just didn't care about any of the characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 25, 2011
Lucy is a pretty wild ride. Gonzales takes an already pretty scary premise, gene-splicing and cloning, and takes it up notch, making us question the nature of humanity. He also introduces the debate of what defines a human: behaviour or DNA?
?Although sometimes a bit heavy handed in the lecturing-about-civil-rights department, Lucy really, at its heart, is the poignant tale of a teenage girl (although freakishly brilliant and half ape). Lucy struggles with loss, love, fitting in, fame, treachery and finding herself just like Kardashian does on a daily basis.
Gonzales has definitely done his research and his descriptions of jungle life and Bonobo mannerisms are thrilling. At the end of the day, Lucy is a thoughtful, moving story that made me consider what it means to be a responsible citizen of the world.
Posted May 17, 2011
Story about a scientist working in the Congo during a revolution who flees to a neighoring scientists camp. This scientist has been secretly inseminating bonobos (apes) in an attempt to create a bonobo-human hybrid. When he is killed the other scientist escapes with his daughter and finds out she IS the hybrid!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2011
Lucy is charming, inquisitive, engaging and a very different young girl but you have to look past what you see to understand the wonder of this girl and how she got "here". From the start, the book captures your heart with the Congo and it's beauty then pulls your heart strings with the death of a great scientist, leaving behind his beautiful daughter who must flee her only known home and those she so loved.
The heroine, Jenny Lowe, makes this story so very real and touching as she saves Lucy, many times over and tackles traditional thinking as the story unfolds...Lucy is the result of an experiment - part human, part ape. The controversy of those who meet her, think they know what is right and those who seek to eliminate her will give pause as you find this a page turner that you don't want to put down.
Already sharing this with so many and enjoying the discussions at Bookclubs.
Posted November 6, 2010
This book was an absolutely fantastic read. I initially heard the book review on NPR (of course) and immediately went out to pick up my copy.
Lucy is incredibly well written, the author draws you into the story and builds a bond with the family of characters in the book. The subject matter can be described as "science fiction" but the author makes it believable.
At the finish of this story it left me hungry for more, wanting to know where and what Lucy's family was moving onto next.
Posted October 12, 2010
An absolute page turner! It begs the question of what the world really would do with such a person in their midst, if they decide that she is a person at all! While some may not like that the very complex legal issues involved were glossed over, it was not vital to the plot and I didn't find it a bad thing. I laughed, cried, and prayed that everything would turn out ok for Lucy and her family. This novel was more than a good story, it was a commentary on human behavior.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2010
I heard an interview on NPR with the author about this book and immediately went out and bought the ebook. I was glad I did. I was hooked from the first few pages, and I was sad when the story ended. I could certainly see a sequel here and maybe even a film.
I thought the author devised a very believable plot and the science involved seemed very plausible. From a scientific standpoint I believe mankind is very close to being able to develop hybrid genetic material. What scares me is the possibility that human genetic material may be manipulated someday and we might indeed discover a "Lucy" in our midst. I fear as a society we would behavior no less despicable than many people did in the story.
I was drawn to Lucy in so many ways and on many different levels. I couldn't quite understand why the author developed the relationship between Lucy and Amanda the way he did but that made the last few chapters emotionally poignant and incredibly touching. I was shocked and hurt by what happened in the end but I was glad that there was a rainbow in the end for Lucy.
I highly recommend the book. The scenario the author paints seems so plausible its scary. It will make you wonder what such an event could mean to mankind, to religion, to the very meaning of the word humanity.
Posted August 19, 2010
When local warfare drives Jenny from her research post in the jungle and causes the death of a fellow scientist, she doesn't think twice about bringing his teenaged daughter with her to safety. But when they return to civilization, Jenny can't help feeling there's something odd about Lucy.
Her reactions to the sights and sounds of city life, and her amazing strength, seem to stem from more than just jungle life. As she reads Lucy's father's journals, she discovers a shocking secret. Lucy was born to an ape her father conducted breeding experiments with. She is only half human.
Though Jenny is willing to accept Lucy as the intelligent, compassionate girl she is, others are not so open-minded. As the secret comes out, she, Lucy, and their friends must fight the media, the government, and the military for Lucy's right to life and to freedom.
LUCY starts with a fascinating premise - what would happen to a girl who wasn't entirely human? Lucy's adjustments to city life and school ring true and her struggle to protect herself and those she loves will have readers turning pages as fast as they can. The ethical issues raised are all too pertinent in today's world of genetic experimentation. Though it ends somewhat abruptly, the story is well worth the ride.
Recommended for readers who enjoy thinking about deeper issues even as they're gripped by a thriller.
Posted July 30, 2010
I read this in a few days and would've had it done sooner if I hadn't been so busy. The characters intertwined so nicely and I really like the writing style. My heart broke for this girl's ordeal. This was a wonderful book - I highly recommend this book to all of you!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 1, 2010
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