My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is probably the best Mary Tannen that I've read. The ending of this book is more of a question than a conclusion, which is interesting. One thing Tannen does that I don't care for is that she introduces a bunch of characters right away without explaining their relationships to each other or why they are important. I guess this is supposed to be a clever literary device, designed to make the reader go, aha! But I find it a little annoying.
Also, I can't really figure out who Tannen is writing for. Her books are easy to read, but I don't think they're young adult, but they're also not really adult novels. There's a decide simplicity to them.
This one was interesting because one of the main characters, Maggie, is trying to rehabilitate chimps in Africa. One interesting thing Maggie thins is "just as when one of the chimpanzees comes flying to her in fright, she has to remember that Didier's fears are not necessarily her own." This observation clearly illustrates the psychological premise of projection: when you assume someone else will feel the same way you do about a situation. Everyone projects--this isn't a criticism--it's one of the ways we emotionally relate to each other. But I think it's always useful to be reminded that we don't have to feel the same way about something as someone else does.
One final note about the book. Two of Maggie's friends visit her in Africa and when they return, they observe that she's become like someone who's truly found a religion--that she is able to disregard everything that is not truly important and just focus on what is valuable to her.
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