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Unspoken [Paperback]

By Angela Elwell Hunt (Author)
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Item Number 15751  
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Item description for Unspoken by Angela Elwell Hunt...

Real-life scientists have been "speaking" with gorillas using American Sign Language for over 30 years. Now, Hunt explores the possibility of true communication between humans and animals in her exciting new novel.

Publishers Description

A love unlike any other...a story of sacrifice and the unspoken connections that bring us together.

For the last eight years, Glee Granger has centered her life around Sema--they live together, play together, eat together, and "talk" together. Though Sema isn't the first gorilla to use sign language, Glee has pushed their interaction to breakthrough levels. Technically, however, Sema isn't hers. She belongs to the zoo where she was born--and the zoo wants its gorilla back. Glee's only option for continuing her work is to join the zoo staff. At first reluctant, Glee begins to see real possibilites in their new arrangement...until the unthinkable happens. One event overturns everything Glee thought she knew about humans and animals, the seen and the unseen, the spoken...and the unspoken.

She taught a gorilla to talk. Now can Glee learn to listen?

From Publishers Weekly
What can animals tell us about God? Do animals have souls? The prolific Hunt (author of more than 100 books) offers a compelling story that asks both questions. Sema is a 250-pound western lowland gorilla referred to as "my girl" by 30-year-old Glee Granger, who has raised Sema from a newborn at her home away from the zoo. Glee teaches Sema sign language and hopes to show her how to read, proving that gorillas can assimilate abstract concepts and use their imaginations. Sema's talents cause the director of the Thousand Oaks Zoo in Clearwater, Fla., to demand her return so he can exploit her abilities to help fund zoo projects. Helping Sema's assimilation into the gorilla habitat is "by-the-book" Brad Fielding, a potential romantic interest for Glee. Hunt knows how to craft believable, interesting characters, and readers will find themselves drawn to the lovable Sema, the conflicted Glee and Glee's scripture-spouting "Nana," the proprietor of a Florida motel. The tension accelerates after a near-death trauma, when Sema begins signing to the nonreligious Glee about a "shiny man" who offers insights about God. Hunt handles this unusual and potentially touchy plot development adeptly. The ending may seem abrupt, but the Christy Award-winning Hunt will please many of her faith fiction fans as well as animal lovers with this poignant tale. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Awards and Recognitions
Unspoken by Angela Elwell Hunt has received the following awards and recognitions -

  • ForeWord Book of the Year Award - 2005 Second Place - Religious Fiction category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Unspoken by Angela Elwell Hunt has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/04/2005 page 44
  • Ingram Advance - 06/01/2005 page 79
  • Romantic Times - 05/01/2005 page 61
  • Library Journal - 06/01/2005 page 110
  • CBA Retailers - 03/01/2005 page 39

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Thomas Nelson
Pages   323
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.92"
Weight:   0.78 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2005
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0849944821  
ISBN13  9780849944826  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Apr 27, 2017 05:13.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Angela Elwell Hunt

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Angela Elwell Hunt is the author of numerous books, including If I Had Long, Long Hair (winner of the Lorna Baslian Prize for children's books), Nat the Brat, Mom and Dad don't Live together Anymore. She lives in Largo, Florida, with her family.

Angela Elwell Hunt currently resides in Tampa, in the state of Florida. Angela Elwell Hunt was born in 1957.

Angela Elwell Hunt has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Heirs of Cahira O'Connor

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Religions > Fiction > Fiction
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Mystery
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Fiction > General Christian > Contemporary

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Reviews - What do customers think about Unspoken?

Unique!  May 23, 2006
This book was definitely a good read with a unique story. I assumed that a book about gorillas would be somewhat cheesy, but Hunt kept the story interesting and didn't center the entire thing on the gorillas. One of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed was the fact that the characters were realistically written. Many Christian books portray women as being beautiful and flawless. Hunt describes Glee as being a stubborn person who usually looks disheveled. Most of the book illustrates her growth as an individual. The only problem I had with the book was the lack of development at the end. Although the end was satisfying, the last portion of the book seemed a bit rushed.
Listen To The Animals  Nov 17, 2005
Glee Granger is finishing her dissertation, but actually, her entire life revolves around Sema, the eight-year-old gorilla she has raised since birth, and has taught American Sign Language. Glee lives with Sema and spends every waking moment fussing over the gorilla and pursuing her research into ape-human communication, which she imagines will lead to unheard of breakthroughs. Meanwhile the zoo from which she kidnapped Sema at birth--for very plausible reasons--is now demanding the gorilla's return.

As the story unfolds, Glee reluctantly returns Sema to the zoo, and is placed on the zoo's payroll. Life is a series of difficult trade-offs. The zoo management seems more interested in publicity than caring for the animals. Glee has difficulty relating to her boss, Fielding, who seems to alternate between love interest and lethal enemy. Glee's only sources of comfort are the ever cheerful gorilla, and her elderly grandmother who is constantly pestering her with religion.

I won't say any more about the plot. You will have to read this book for yourself. Suffice it to say that talking to the animals is not a one-way street. Sometimes you have to listen to them too, even if what they say sounds pretty bizarre, like, say, talking about God. So, is Glee listening? Is the gorilla a little psychotic? Or is she on to something astounding?

This is an intriguing subject and I wish author Hunt had done a better job with it. The book is over-written, with pages of breathless emotion and enough sentimentality to drown a horse (or gorilla). Glee is an unlikeable, self-centered, arrogant and touchy individual. The other characters are equally one-dimensional. Although the author has obviously done a lot of research on gorillas, the animals in this book are not quite believable. Well, that's just my opinion. If you like reading about talking gorillas, like Koko, or if you want to get a (fictional) gorilla's insights on spirituality, this might be just the book for you. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.

A Talking Gorilla?!!  Oct 8, 2005
I never thought a story about a gorilla would interest me, but this book was quite entertaining and though provoking. Highly recommended.
A fascinating story that examines how one woman's faith is affected through an animal  Aug 23, 2005
Glee Granger is a mom, albeit an adoptive one. She is the mother to Sema, a gorilla whom she rescued from its birth mother when the new mom didn't begin feeding Sema immediately. Glee, a zookeeper, feared Sema's mother might eat her --- something gorillas have been known to do.

Thus began Glee's journey into full-time motherhood. Living off an inheritance from her parents' estate, this single woman has devoted all her time, energy, and very person into Sema's growth and development. Believing Sema to be special --- for she uses a computer, signs to communicate, watches videos, and expresses emotions, playfulness and sadness (as well as the rest of humanity's wide range of "attitude") --- Glee is determined to keep "her girl" out of the clutches of a zoo environment.

Sadly, after eight years of rearing and loving Sema on her private land, the director of the Thousand Oaks Zoo sees Sema as a moneymaker and demands her return. Even though Glee is crushed by this development, her lawyer-brother helps to negotiate better terms for both Sema and Glee. Surprisingly, Glee is offered a position at the zoo and this allows her at least daily minimal contact with Sema. For Glee this job comes with an old "boyfriend," Brad Fielding, who's now her boss. Glee doubts whether or not she or he will be able to mend their fences, professional or otherwise. Still, Glee agrees to transport Sema to the zoo's facilities to begin her orientation with the other gorillas.

As Sema is quarantined for a short period of time, Glee is shocked to discover how excited Sema is to be acquainted with her fellow gorillas, signing these requests daily. As the days pass, Glee also is confounded by her boss's conciliatory behavior. Hmmm...Glee suddenly discovering much of her orderly world is not what she anticipated.

After a tragic water accident that may have killed Sema, Glee is even more disturbed by Sema's "signing." Sema begins telling Glee of a "shiny man" who was with her in the dark water, who loves her...and loves Glee. Believing Sema to have suffered brain damage, Glee seeks out Brad and together they sneak Sema from the zoo for an MRI scan. When the results show no brain damage, Glee's grandmother ponders the possibility that God may be speaking to Sema. Glee, dismissing the notion offhandedly, continues to fret for Sema's mental health.

Between the overzealous zoo director's publicity ploys and Glee's ongoing concern for Sema, tensions escalate to a point where Glee must face the possibility of not having all the answers. She revisits her faith briefly, and yet niggling thoughts continue to point to the possibility of Sema's having a "spiritual" understanding beyond what Glee does. Another tragedy ensues, Glee and Sema converse, and Glee makes peace with her unspoken fears and doubts about God, his goodness, and the evil in the world.

Author Angela Hunt weaves an incredibly fascinating story around the habits and behavior of gorillas. The information alone on these remarkable primates is worth the read. Hunt, as always, shines brightly as she depicts her characters' flaws, fears and foibles with characteristic honesty. Readers will begin asking their own questions about the extent of animals' understanding and perceptions after journeying alongside this enthusiastic zookeeper named Glee.

--- Reviewed by Michele Howe
Amazing; recommended, but with reservations  Jul 31, 2005
Unspoken was an excellent book, for many reasons. The descriptions of the sign language and the ways Sema, the gorilla, used it were extraordinary. Hunt seems to have research her material well, and she present Glee in a firmly scientific, yet also real, manner. Sema is also characterized quite well. In being able to "speak," she takes on the role of a small child, and an endearing one at that.
The plot revolves largely around the zoo that owns Sema demanding her return, and Glee adjusting to a job at said zoo in order to be near Sema and continue her research. Much of the actions in the book come from Glee's maternal determination not to let anyone harm her "girl", and the zoo director's equally strong determination to exploit Sema to enhance the zoo's reputation.
The latter third of the book seems somewhat rushed, and the last 20 pages especially so. While Hunt adeptly handles the subject matter of animals and God, she does so quickly, and it seems more of a subplot, instead of the entire plot itself. The subsequent denouement is, as said, especially rushed. The book however does finish well; its ending is the only one that could keep the characters from stagnating in a status quo, and is ultimately satisfying.
Bottom Line: Although the end is rushed, and the God plot isn't as strong as it could be, the characterizations and the detail of Sema's learning and personality, as well as the uniqueness of the story, more than make up for any deficiencies. Definitely recommended.

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