Ebook review — Tarzan of the Apes

Title — Tarzan of the Apes
Author — Edgar Rice Burroughs
Year 1914
Digitized by Google Books from a 1914 copy Epub format

I have read this book before, but I decided to load it on my book reader and read it again.

This is not your Movie or TV Tarzan. The information about wild life (apes in particular) is a bit dated, but you should not let that keep you from reading any of Burroughs’ Tarzan stories. Tarzan of the Apes is the first in a long series of Tarzan novels written by Burroughs.

In this story, the apes that raised Tarzan are not Gorillas. Burroughs created a new smarter species to have a smarter animal to raise a human infant. This allowed Tarzan to ‘speak’ with the apes in the book. A good plot enhancement to allow the readers to have an early view of Tarzan’s young life in the wild. The apes themselves are seen as caring individuals (at least the female that took Tarzan to raise) and bloodthirsty savage beasts (almost all of the male apes). Tarzan was one of the bloodthirsty savages until he chanced upon meeting ‘white’ humans.

While reading this book, I had a feeling that it was written as a serialized novel. I seem to recall that a number of stories of this type were published in sections by numerous magazines of the time. I did a search on this and found out that this story was publish in full by the magazine it was submitted too. It may have been written as a serial novel, but it didn’t turn out that way. Just an interesting tidbit of information with this story.

I sat down to read this story knowing all of the above, I just pushed that aside and read this as I would any action/adventure tale. Except for Tarzan, the characters all seemed a bit flat. They were all secondary to story line. They were there to give Tarzan something to do. During the reading, I found that I didn’t really care what happened to them.

However, the background and setting of 1914 Africa came alive in the story. This was Tarzan’s supporting character. The descriptions of the ‘Jungle’ and its animal inhabitants kept the story flowing. This background gave the character of Tarzan some depth and meaning. While I didn’t care about the other characters, I did find myself interested in the way Tarzan felt about them. They were secondary, but his reactions were primary. I don’t recall too many stories that have me thinking in that fashion. I’m going to have to read more authors from the same time period to see if this is common in the era.

As far as the Ebook version, I did notice a few problems with the OCR conversion. It seemed to have problems with accented and capital letters. I’m not sure why that is, but there were a couple places it was an annoyance. I don’t remember this from the project Gutenburg book I read last year, but that was just a scan to PDF and not a digital reading/recognition of the words themselves.

I think that I would give this 3 out of 5 stars. Good book to read, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to hunt it down.