"A Beautiful Truth" by Colin McAdam

Walt and Judy are a married couple who are deeply in love with each other and with life.  But there is one thing missing for Judy, a child.  Walt desperately wants to make Judy happy and when they realize that they may never have their own child, he goes to extreme lengths to give her what she wants.  

Looee was born in Sierra Leone and is now being raised by Walt and Judy in Vermont.  His arrival turns their lives upside down.  He tears up the house, doesn't understand boundaries, and his presence brings about the judgment of friends and strangers.  That is because Looee is a chimpanzee.  It may be different, but the three of them form a family.  

At the Girdish Institute in Florida, a decades long study of chimpanzees is being done to determine whether they can learn language.  Mr. Ghoul is one of the chimps being studied and his life is one marked by love, anger, forgiveness and violence.  The paths of Mr. Ghoul and Looee will cross, providing a touching tale of family, friendship, community, and the ways in which humans are linked to nature.

A Beautiful Truth is the new novel from Colin McAdam, written from the point of view of both humans and chimpanzees.  The stories of Looee and Mr. Ghoul unfold side by side, sharing the different, but parallel, lives they live.

This was a very interesting book for me.  I wasn't sure what to expect and it did take me a little while to get into the flow of the book.  For the first half I was more intrigued by the story of Walt, Judy, and Looee than I was of the chimpanzees at the institute.  There felt to be a bit of a lull in building up the story to me.  But as it unfolded, I was drawn into the chimpanzee's world and their interactions.  

This is the first book by McAdam that I have read, but his past novels have received award nods.  I wouldn't be surprised to see this one as a part of the conversation when the literary season hits Canada this year.  McAdam takes us into the animal kingdom without getting cheesy or annoying, and as you read you find yourself experiencing the same emotions as the animals, making for a truly interesting reading experience.

It may be what everyone says, but I love to watch the chimpanzees and other primates at the zoo.  Their behaviour and the relationship dynamics are just so fascinating to sit back and watch.  For anyone who has ever stood at the glass and just watched, this book will interest you.  


  1. Hi there! Just started following you, so I thought I'd leave a comment. This definitely sounds like an interesting book. I like the way you wrote the review and made the fact that Looee was a chimp somewhat of a surprise at first. It definitely changed the tone of the review from that point on, and made the overall read really fun. :)


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