Caution: May Contain Spoilers
I received an advanced copy of A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam and I've recently finished reading it. While I've never heard of Colin McAdam before now, I am adding his other novels to my never-ending list of books I need to read. McAdam is the author of two other novels: Fall and Some Great Thing (a finalist for the 2004 Governor General's Literary Award For Fiction). This is an author who can tell a story so riveting that you'll never want to put the book down!
A Beautiful Truth is a wonderful story about a couple who adopts a young chimpanzee after finding out that they are unable to have children. Told in alternating points of view, A Beautiful Truth is about a chimpanzee named Looee's life as an adopted son and as a member of the Girdish Institute, where he eventually ends up after a devastating incident.
McAdam uses both human and chimpanzee perspectives, managing to capture a realistic experience of the chimps in a human world, as well as their humanlike existence both in a family setting and in a scientific facility. I was touched by the story and quickly fell in love with Looee, whose love for his parents and his struggle to fit into a human world is both tragic and heartwarming. McAdam does a wonderful job of writing the narratives of the chimps; it feels very primal and realistic.
The book does contain some violence and has a graphic nature, but these scenes are so important to the readers' understanding of the chimpanzees that the shock factor of some of the scenes and horrifying treatment of the chimps at Girdish does not detract from the narrative. Animal lovers will find this book illuminating and interesting, sad, but also beautiful and heartwarming. The narrative pulls you into the complicated lives of these intelligent creatures and explores the love between family and friends, and human and beast. The book feels well-researched and is [without question] well-written.
My only complaint is that I wanted a little more closure on the lives of Walt and Judy (Looee's adoptive human parents) after Looee is moved to Girdish. I really enjoyed reading this book from Penguin Canada and I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy come March 19th! McAdam's novel is different from a lot of animal-centered stories and is unique in its narrative and plot. It's edgy, captivating, and insightful. This is truly a reading experience that you do not want to miss.
A Beautiful Truth is a story about beautiful, yet sometimes uncomfortable truths about the relationship between humans and chimps; how we're different, how we're the same, and how we both crave love, friendship and acceptance.
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A Beautiful Truth, Chapters.ca
A Beautiful Truth is available on March 19th, 2013