Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Neanderthal (Book 8 of 100)

As you may remember, I have an obsession with neanderthals. I don't know if it's because they stand the way people with cerebral palsy tend to or if I assume that they communicate using the kind of gestural language I resort to when I'm having a bad speaking day. I never heard of John Darnton, but when I discovered that he had a book about neanderthals written for adults I had to read it.

This is an 11-disc book and it's not an easy read. I would recommend that you have some knowledge of anthropology before you read it because otherwise parts of the book won't make sense to you. However, I was an anthropology major in college, so I was fine.

The main character in this book can get a little confusing after a while. At one point, I thought that Susan's boyfriend was, in fact, the story's asshole. But he turned out to be another character all together. By this I don't mean that he turned out not to be an asshole, but that I had him confused entirely with another person who was the asshole in question.

Interestingly enough, there was a person in a wheelchair in this story. I don't know why we are always either the ultra-good Tiny Tim or some big greedy jerk like Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." Why can't disabled people ever be normal? There's good and bad in all of us just like there is good and bad in every able-bodied person. But I digress. This is the subject for another column.

The storyline of the book is that basically there is remnant band of surviving neanderthals. These sapiens anthropologists go down to the Himalayas and locate them. Whereupon they're faced with the dilemma of every anthropologist. If you know something bad is going to happen, do you intervene? How do you live with yourself if you don't? How do you live with yourself if you do and everything goes wrong despite your best intentions?

This book will make you think. If not, it's something to curl up with if you're just in a cocoa and good book mood. Unless you're prepared to devote some serious effort, do not engage this book. If you're looking for a serious read that still has plenty of adventure, this might be your novel. I give it an 8 out of 10. Warning, however, if you are listening to this book as opposed to reading it, there's lots of talk about erections and sex, so if that's embarrassing to you or you have lots of people coming in and out of your house, be forewarned. Enjoy!

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