Reviews of Tarzan of the Apes (1912)
Review by daven3113 (2011-10-26)
This book sets the stage for all that follow. The author writes in such a way as to make one believe that Tarzan of the Apes could be a real man.
Although the book was written in 1912, the storyline feels more current. The descriptive writing style of the author allows the mind to imagine more easily the beasts of the jungles of Africa.
(This review refers to the 1912 version titled “Tarzan of the Apes”)
This is literally one of the finest adventure stories I have EVER read because of the purity of the story telling. That does not mean that Edgar Rice Burroughs is a Shakespearean writer. He is not. Edgar Rice Burroughs is much closer to being a pulp writer than a quote-unquote good writer. But that is part of his charm. He worries more about telling his story than making it a model of grammar. That does not mean he does not know how to write a good tale. It does mean that he cares more about telling the STORY than TELLING the story if you know what I mean. In sum he cares more about how efficiently the story is told than how pretty the language is in the process. That is what makes him more of a pulp writer than a Shakespearean writer. But I mean this as a compliment. And it comes across in Tarzan of the Apes. Starting in 1912, it begins with stranding of a high-bred English couple on the African coast following a mutiny on the sailing vessel they have book passage on, and they do their best to survive there. They hope for rescue, but what I remember as the sinking of the vessel keeps that from happening, and the result is they have to raise their soon-born son up on the African coast. An attack by one of the great apes who live nearby leaves the baby orphaned. And the apes are QUITE unsure what to do with the boy. A female ape ERB calls Kala decides to adopt the boy over what I remember as the objections of her mate Kerchak. And the result is that the boy who is named Tarzan by the apes grows to boyhood/manhood/human being-hood. I will not write more than that as many of the characters who come later including Jane Porter and her professor father are already well known to people. I will say it is one of the most thrilling adventures I have ever read for its' pul style and ERBs' devotion to good storytelling. It is a deserved classic of American literature.
Review by Beaver (2003-05-10)
I read Tarzan expecting a "kiddie" book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Tarzan was quite the page turner, but it was also very interesting to see Burroughs' thoughts on what separates men from apes. I also found it very interesting to contrast the novel with Disney's Tarzan movie. They share a lot of similarities, but the book's tone is much darker. My only disappointment with this book was that it left off on a cliff-hanger. I guess sometime I'll have to read some more of the Tarzan novels. 9/10