After reading “Midlisters,” I thought I would try reading “Monkey love” by John Paul Allen again. There really is no connection between the two books except that they were both initially published by Biting Dog Publications as a three novella series. The other connection is that I really did not like either book on first reading. I figured that since I enjoyed “Midlisters” after a second reading, I would try “Monkey love” and hope for the same result.
Sandra Rixx and Richard are deeply in love; a love that they feel will last forever. Sandra wakes Richard up early to make love to him before he leaves town as a reaffirmation of their devotion. At the airport, Richard meets the husband of one of Sandra’s friends and has the man watch his suitcase while he uses the restroom. Later, Richard’s airplane blows up due to a bomb planted in his bag and Richard is killed in the explosion.
In her grief, Sandra ceases to live except through her work. She becomes the foremost expert on gorillas in the world and secures a grant to study the animals in Uganda. She is a woman of science, but when she notices a mark on the back should of one of the gorillas that resembles Richard’s dragon tattoo, she is led to question her strict beliefs and decide how this changed worldview will affect her actions.
After reading “Monkey love” for a second time, the story still does not work for me. I do appreciate the fact that it is well written but it is not the writing skills of the author that fall short. I find the story to be mundane and the twists in the story seem to be in place simply to shock rather than add meaning to what could be a relatively deep story. Unfortunately, the shocks did not work for me (they were too obvious) and Sandra’s fate seemed gratuitous rather than relevant. I have seen some good reviews of th story and the writer’s talent is apparent, so I would not go so far as to discourage anyone fom reading this novella. The story just did not work for me but I would be interested in reading another work from John Paul Allen and see what I think of it.