Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
“As the body rolled to the ground Tarzan of the Apes placed his foot upon the neck of his lifelong enemy and, raising his eyes to the full moon, threw back his fierce young head and voiced the wild and terrible cry of his people.”
Tarzan of the Apes is a wonderful work of fiction which was first published in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs. When I first picked up this book from my local library I had a preconceived notion that this book was going to be like the old black and white television show mixed in with the Disney cartoon, boy was I ever wrong. What I found out is that Tarzan of the Apes is a violent action packed story about a child born into the wilds of Africa. Tarzan’s parents were marooned after a mutiny took place on their ship. Once on the African Coast his parents are in grave danger and each day brought new hardships, but with human ingenuity they made a home. Eventually the couple had a baby, but there were always dangers around them and ultimately it caught up with them. Luckily for Tarzan a female ape had just lost its child and took Tarzan to replace the child that she lost and made him her own.
As Tarzan grows up he slowly realizes that he is different, that he can think things through, but at the same time he develops incredible strength. As the years pass Tarzan does one remarkable thing after another, but to Tarzan something was missing. When Tarzan comes into human contact for the first time it is with an indigenous tribe who end up killing the ape that Tarzan knew as his mother. As he takes revenge on the tribe he gathers new tools and weapons to become king of the jungle. Despite the fact that Tarzan was now the strongest animal in the jungle his human characteristics kept him from truly feeling like he belonged in the wild. Not until a group of whites were marooned in the same place as Tarzan’s parents were does Tarzan have a sudden urge to be with his own kind. Part of this push for rejoining humanity is the beautiful Jane who Tarzan falls for at first sight. Unfortunately for Tarzan life and love are not that simple, the dangers of the jungle, the struggle just to communicate, as well as his comfort for the only life he knows stand in the way of him becoming who he was meant to be.
For anybody that likes action adventure stories Tarzan is the book for you. If your only exposure to the story of Tarzan is through television or movies then you only know a little bit of the story whereas this book paints a vivid picture of a man who is just as much animal as he is human and lives by the rules of kill or be killed. It is a fast read and will keep your interest, but at times the improbability of the things that Tarzan is able to do and survive becomes a bit too much. It is a wonderful work of fiction that I wish I would have read when I was kid, but I am happy that I finally know the true story of Tarzan. I give it four and half shells out five, it is well worth your time to check out.