At the beginning of Gorilla Dreams, Fossey attends her own funeral and watches her murdered gorillas interacting with the graveside bystanders. She establishes a new relationship with the slain gorilla Digit, who acts as her guide after death as she carefully reviews her life, its challenges, successes, hardships, and the ultimate closure of her murder. Although Fossey's death is officially unsolved, recently released documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as testimony from the International War Crimes Tribunal proceedings, offer new suspects, motives, and opportunities. Every fact about Fossey's life is meticulously annotated. However, the setting of her conversations with the murdered gorillas is obviously fictional, yet steeped in African tradition.
Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey is a biographical interpretation of the famed primatologist's life that honors the African belief that the dead live on in spiritual form.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This fictional story of Dian Fossey reuntiting with her beloved Digit, her most favorite gorilla, was touching and footnoted often when the author could verify facts. This gave a reality to the book. It was very emotional, as Dian comes to realize she was accepted by the gorillas, whom she considered her 'family'. The frequent referrals to the head wound she received at her death was a jarring connection to her physical end. It startled me every time. The author seemed to sympathize with Fossey's physical issues in the mountains, where it was very difficult to breathe. She suffered from advanced emphysema, and had difficulty going into the hills to see her gorillas. The staff would tell her when they were near. Dian's poor relationship and her mistreatment of poachers were detrimental to her work in the Virungas. She tries to come to terms with that, the isolation of the site, her possible mental illness, and even her unhappy love affairs. These issues the author carefully footnotes for the reader whenever possible. A prior reading of 'Gorillas in the Mist' by Dian Fossey is a must, in order to really understand what she and Digit are talking about! All in all, a sensitive pro-Fossey look at this great researcher's life and work in a lonely, hostile environment. I thoroughly enjoyed it.