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Eva (1990)

Eva (1990)
3.37 of 5 Votes: 4
0440207665 (ISBN13: 9780440207665)
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Eva (1990)
Eva (1990)

About book: Fourteen-year-old Eva's parents work the the Chimp Pool, so she's grown up with the beloved animals. A car accident leaves her in an irreversible coma, so her consciousness is transferred into the body of a six-year-old chimpanzee named Kelly. The procedure was an experiment, but a successful one, propelling Eva to immediate fame, but the more she has to reconcile her human nature with her chimp body, the more she realizes that humanity has done poorly by these creatures, and indeed, rather poorly by itself.So, the thing about a near-future-dystopic-YA books is that they start to feel a little dated after twenty-five years. The environmental message, the use of "bitch" as a verb, the retro-futuristic technologies--people watch 3-D TV's called "shapers" but still tape programs using VCR's--it all seems almost quaint. But a good story and a solid ending make this an endearing read. I allegedly read this book for school in sixth grade, which means I read the first third or so before giving up and faking it the rest of the way. But parts of this stayed with me so that I sought it out all these years later.I'm not disappointed, although I would have liked a little more of the character. She's constantly coming to grips with her identity as a chimp and as a human. Her perspective is very compellingly written, but she remained a cypher throughout. Lots of interesting ideas dance their way front-and-center, but then disappear before making much of a fuss. The social structures of chimps are examined thoroughly, but the author stops just short of drawing parallels with human social structures. Instead, everything fades behind a polemic about the well-being of chimpanzees and how other species suffer at the hands of fickle, facile human beings.It should surprise no one that the book is dedicated to Jane Goodall.I still liked it quite a bit, especially with the knowledge that more contemporary near-future-dystopic-YA has its roots here. Also, it was refreshing to read a YA story that didn't feel overly chaste. Eva discusses mating briefly and obliquely as a thing that happens and is not to be fussed over, as is the way with chimps. Overall, I appreciated the sober tone that Dickinson brought to the book. The ideas seem clunky now, but they were big in 1988 when nobody had any idea that the Digital Revolution was coming. And I did, in fact, learn an awful lot about chimps.

As seen on Stumptown Books.This was a reread for me, having originally read this middle-grade novel in middle school, at precisely the age it was meant for. I remembered it recently and wanted to give it another shot, having not yet learned the lesson that some things from our childhood are better left to memory.The opening is the strongest and creepiest part. We discover early on that Eva has had her brain moved from her prepubescent body into that of a young chimp. The sequence of her learning what has happened, and how she deals with it, was shudder inducing. Eva was so strong and able to cope with this horrifying event in her life; I remembered why, in middle school, I thought she was such a strong character. I was able to identify her as an, albeit very strange, heroine. Unfortunately, reading this book through an adult's eyes, I am able to see that Eva was suspiciously accepting of her situation. She reacted maturely to everything that was thrown at her, which made it obvious that an adult male was trying to write a 13 year old girl, and barely succeeding. Her thoughts on politics were too cohesive and she is entirely too adult like, instead of being the angsty teenager we would all be in this situation. Seriously, what happened to her is thoroughly horrifying, she deserved to have some screams and cry alone in the corner time.Soon we leave the hospital and learn about the state of the world, and although it is a much more depressing view of the near future than I cherish close to my heart, it was also disturbingly accurate in some ways. It was interesting that TV was the medium that had completely taken over society, as there was no internet really.The middle of the book lost its way, and I was actually growing bored, even though the book is so short. I didn't like it all the way up until the very end, when the last page was actually quite a good pay off.The bottom line is, if you are interested in young adult dystopias, this would probably prove an interesting read for you. Having been published in the late 80s, as opposed to the last decade, proves that our fear of where we are headed has changed drastically.
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My favorite thing about Eva echoes that of a book I treasure above just about all others: Speaker for the Dead—that thing being an alien society that really feels alien. In the case of Speaker those aliens were the Pequeninos, the only other sentient species known in the universe. In the case of Eva, the aliens are much closer to home: chimpanzees. And yet Peter Dickinson makes them come alive in a way that feels strange and exhilarating. Their culture, communication, and personalities are every bit as real as those of humans, because Dickinson gets in their heads, both literally and figuratively.It is interesting, then, that with the exception of the title character, all of the human characters struck me as hollow and dimensionless. Their movements are predictable and empty, and yet overly potent, like children who found their dad’s gun. People have overdeveloped the planet, far beyond irretrievable loss of biodiversity. Dickinson’s future humanity is full of Icarian hubris, yes, but also bumbling and doe-eyed innocence, not unlike the future presented in WALL-E. As such, I read humanity’s hollow dimensionlessness in Eva as a conscious storytelling choice. Humanity is seen that way because the story isn’t really about humanity.By contrast the chimpanzee characters are the passionate, sympathetic underdogs. They grow to dominate the book. Humanity fades to the periphery and the primary narrative evolves (no pun intended) to follow the chimps. It’s in the chimps where the heart of the story lies.I won’t even outline the plot here, because for me so much of the joy of this book comes from its fresh strangeness. Its premise is truly bizarre, and I liked not having a chance to get used to it before delving deep into the book. So if you haven’t already spoiled it for yourself, I recommend keeping it that way until you have a chance to read this singular novel. It’s a quick read that charts strangely enjoyable and utterly unique alien territory.
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It was an OK book. Yet again I didn't actually finish it, LOL. It's so hard to find a decent book these days, or maybe it's just because my standard for 'good' is too high due to my obsessive reading in the past.Notice how I said past, I don't read or write much on Goodreads now. :(Back to the point!!!!SO, it's a book about this girl who's in some sort of accident and as a means of saving her life her parents decide to turn her into a chimp or ape or some sort of monkey-type creature.The rest of
This book was very strange, in an interesting-strange kind of way. Eva is injured in a car accident, which leaves her body broken and comatose, she is somehow transplanted, as a mind, into the body of a chimpanzee (her father runs "The Pool" which is the last place chimps exist, none in the wild since the expansion of human population, and destruction of natural land areas; they exist as chimps, but also as bodies for science, so it can get some funding). Anyway, Eva wakes up in a chimp body, and she's grown up with chimps, so comes to terms with the idea much more quickly than later attempts, which simply kill the mind and chimp. When I was reading this, and the whole "mind-into-chimp-body" is revealed right away, I was left wondering where the story was going to go ... you'd think that'd be the shocker ending or something. But it ultimately tells an interesting story about animal rights, advocating for animals that can't speak for themselves, and sends a message about using animals as bodies for experimentation to further human lives -- selfish, no matter what the reason. Eva spends time with the chimps in the center, and gets to know their language, feel their fears, smell changes in the emotional tension of a room, and ultimately makes a decision with help of an animal-rights advocate, to truly help these animals, not to further a human agenda. This book was moving, though-provoking, philosophical in its exploration of morality, and more than I expected it to be. It saddened me a bit thinking about our world in comparison, and how futile being an animal rights advocate seems to be in this day and age, but I'm really glad I read it.
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