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If You Were a Talking Baboon


Cornelius Medvei’s Mr. Thundermug is an imaginative short novel chronicling the life of Mr. Thundermug, a baboon who inexplicably learns how to speak English. This is another of the books I am reading as part of the Irresistible Review Challenge.

I originally found the review for this book at Diary of an Eccentric, which is listed as book 38, I believe, in the recap. What a great look at the life of a Baboon as a human, or should I say ape in a human world.

***Spoiler Alert***

Mr. Thundermug, his wife, and his two children, Angus and Trudy, are all given names by Mr. Thundermug. The baboon soon realizes that he is the only one in the family able to speak and understand English when it is spoken. Through a series of run-ins with the Council on Housing, Thundermug soon comes to realize that he is governed by two contrary standards–that of human law and natural law.

His grasp of speech amazes many, while others ignore the baboon who speaks their language as if he were a figment of their imagination. I wonder if this book is another look at discrimination, but at the same time I wonder if there is another meaning altogether. Perhaps as humans we are not as superior to animals as we would like to suggest or believe. Perhaps they are wiser than we are.

***End Spoiler Alert***

It’s interesting to see a study of animal conditions from another perspective, rather than the human entering the world of the gorilla, for instance. The baboon enters the world of humanity and what he learns is striking.

Polysyllabic Spree

Nick Hornby’s Polysyllabic Spree is an interesting look at what one man buys and reads in a given month. The commentary about his choices and his reads are fantastically amusing. It’s good to see that us readers and writers are not alone in our efforts to catalogue our finds and keep a running tally of our progress.

It was intriguing to learn how he chose his books in a given month and how one choice led to the others.

One thing I think I took issue with was Hornby’s contention that he has not felt like part of a music concert or show in a long time, like he can become part of the action in a book. I find that I don’t have this problem. I get into music in much the same way that I do books. I’m not sure what is different about my make-up compared to Hornby’s, but I am certainly not in the mainstream.

I’m a bit younger, so maybe that plays into it. I’m not sure, but I can tell you this. When I do make it to a concert (when I have some money) I am right there, in the crowd, with the crowd, in the moment of the song, and in the moment with the singer. Then again, maybe it isn’t just me, maybe it is the singer’s themselves or bands that create that feeling for me and others at the concert. I’m not sure. My favorite concerts are those with Godsmack. They always put on a crowd-involved show. I always leave feeling completely satisfied and pumped….ready for more…there is no total utility there for me. Maybe that has something to do with talking to the lead singer long ago before they were famous and I had no idea who he was…just an interesting guy to talk to between sets at a local concert venue for local bands.

Regardless, if you are feeling lonely in your list-making, just pick up Hornby’s book, and you’ll see there are a lot more of us out there than you thought.

This is just one of the books I have picked up and read because of another blogger’s review, so it qualifies for the Irresistible Review Challenge! One down, seven more to go between now and Labor Day!

The inspiring review can be found:
Things Mean a Lot

Other Reviews are here:
Books ‘N Border Collies