14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
TARZAN - A SURPRISINGLY GOOD READ,
By A Customer
This review is from: Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan (Ballantine)) (Mass Market Paperback)
Ever since I was a child, I have watched films and series on the television of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Some have been good and some not so good. Some, like those starring Johnny Weissmuller, were brilliant for their time; telling the story of the baby lost to the elements of the jungle and the mercy of the Apes.
Whatever film and TV programme makers have done in the past has been different in some way. The most memorable for me was the film version starring Christophe Lambert. Needless to say, I have been a fan of the story for the best part of my life. I have grown up with this as a pert of my existence.
However, I did not even know if what I was seeing on film, was in fact, close to the details in the book in any way, so when the chance came to buy the book, after watching the Disney version with my children, I jumped at the chance. Was I in for a shock when I read this one !!!
Sometimes, a film, like Lambert's film, shows graphic violence in order to get across a certain idea of the harshness of life in the jungle. The book though, is a different matter altogether. It is extremely descriptive of how the young Tarzan grows up, learning to hunt and kill for food. The description at times can change from beautiful [when describing the jungle] to brutal [when a killing takes place]. The idea is firmly planted in your mind of how man can change from kind and loving to merciless and murderous in a second, if provoked into survival.
At every turn, the book takes you through the joys and turmoil of his life. Most notable is the time he finds a book in the cabin built by his father and finds a lot of 'bugs', which the reader finds out are in fact, words on a page. He then teaches himself to read, but he cannot speak and language other than Ape. This sounds odd, but the plot twists and turns, and even changes continent at the end, concluding in America in a swathe of heroism and glory for Tarzan as he returns again to rescue Jane Porter.
This book will surprise you if you do not know the entire story of Lord Clayton and if you, like me, are the sort of person who has only seen the films and TV Tarzan, then I urge you to give it a read. It is a surprisingly good read.