I asked someone from SoHo books which book they were most excited about this season and without a moment’s hesitation she handed me “A Beautiful Truth” by Colin McAdam.
At it’s most basic level – this book struck me as intensely honest. The story begins with Walt and Judy. Walt,’s first wife died in a car accident and so he learned quickly and painfully precisely what was most important in his life. When he met Judy he treasured her with our without children. Judy was a devoted wife, trying to figure out how to live beyond her desire to have children. Despite their difficulties, they were happy. One day Walt saw a clown with a chimpanzee and he was struck by the notion of these creatures – so similart to human, and yet not. He made inquiries and eventually secured a chimpanzee to adopt. If you have ever seen Project Nim, then you will not be surprised by anything that happens.
There is no way that I could pretend to know a chimp’s point of view no matter how much I have followed Jane Goodall’s work in the Gombe National Park, and yet – it rung true.
There is at times a disjointed feel to the book that also is appropriate to both the story and the setting. McAdam manages to lightly and naturally touch on many of the different aspects of the lives of chimps in captivity over the last 40 years.
Who are these creatures in relation to humans, what rights have they or we over one another? How and where are we different? How shall we move forward, what is the nature of love. Over the course of this novel my mind kept prodding me with all sorts of questions and,…if not ‘re-assessments’ then perhaps simple shifts in the way I understand the world. Something I consider a gift when reading.
If you come across Colin McAdam’s works – read it and see what answers you have to these questions…perhaps your mind will be changed.