NOOK Book Review: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

This was an interesting read for a variety of reasons. First, it was a free book that I downloaded from the Google eBookstore. I mean if the book can be legally acquired for free, then why pay for it, right? So, with respect to reading books on my NOOK Color, this was the first freebie that I’ve read on it. And on that topic, I noticed that the .epub version of the book (the one I read on the NOOK Color) had a lot of weird quirks to it. For example, sometimes there would be incredibly misspelled words to the point where the flow of my reading had to stop so I could try to decipher what was printed on the page. Also, there was a good amount (not a lot, but a good amount) of formatting errors throughout the book. Not enough to make me want to delete the file and pay the dollar or so that it costs on BN.com, but enough for me to take notice.

The other interesting part of reading this book was that it really was entertaining. Sure, there were parts of it that were just a bit unrealistic (I mean a baby human being taken in by apes, raised as an ape, becoming the king of the apes, teaching himself to read and comprehend written language, and then being taught how to speak French by a military officer is a bit bizarre), but overall it was a really fun read. My Father used to be a big fan of the old Tarzan television show. My Father was an older guy from an older generation and I always wondered what he found so captivating about the Tarzan television show. Well, after reading this book I can see for myself – this is a very entertaining story!

Like I said above, though, some parts of the story are patently out there. I can’t imagine that a human raised by apes would survive, let alone be able to become such a physical force that he begins to overtake the apes and literally beats the life out of other jungle animals, but that’s part of the fun of the story. I also enjoyed reading about the introduction of the famous “Jane” to the novel as she, her father, her maid, her father’s servant, and (believe it or not) Tarzan’s cousin are all left for dead in the jungle by mutinous pirates. I won’t give away the bulk of that part of the story (which is a fun read itself), but suffice to say that – just like every other story in history – the good guys come out on top.

However, when I think back about reading Tarzan of the Apes I’ll think back about a book that is really one-half the story of Tarzan’s upbringing and one-half a love story. The latter part of the novel is a great love story about a primeval man and a highly cultured young woman and their search (both literally and figuratively) for each other. While I was reading this part of the novel I couldn’t help buy think that Burroughs takes some liberties with how fast Tarzan is able to generally adapt to civilized society in his attempts to find Jane. And whenever I had those thoughts I’d remind myself that I was reading a book about a guy who grew up among apes in a jungle and I’d get back to the fun of the story at hand. :-)

In the end, I definitely recommend reading Tarzan of the Apes if you’re looking for a fun, classic work of fiction. The story of Tarzan is entertaining on many levels and will likely keep you captivated if not for the fantastical elements of the story, then for the old-fashioned approach that Burroughs uses to tell a very good story.