Endangered… The backstory

The backstory

Earlier this month, our school invited an author, namely ‘Eliot Schrefer’ he has written many books, and on that particular day, he was talking about his book EndangeredHe first started off his speech with how he had gotten inspiration to write this book. And its very petty things I inferred that give an author inspiration. Just like what Inspired Mr Schrefer to write Endangered. Turns out that he had bought a pair of pants and their name was Bonobo.  

That name for some reason interested him and he decided to go do some research on it. And as he said “I spent an entire evening getting distracted on youtube, and it really isn’t a bad way to spend your evening”

Bonobos, he later figured out are great apes, that share the most DNA with humans, yes, I know you’re thinking – wait for a second, aren’t those chimps? Yup, chimps share 96% of their DNA with us. Which is actually quite disturbing. Chimps are very aggressive by nature. A fact that Eliot schrefer told our middle school is that – chimps start with a group about as large as 4 individuals, then the group grows to around 32 monkeys and finally, they split up and go to war. 16 vs 16. And the cycle continues.

Chimpanzees live in a very violent community, where the males in the community have all the power. I’m not going to go into detail about how the females are treated in a chimp society, hopefully, you get what I’m talking about. Think about gender equality.

Bonobos, on the other hand, who share 98.7% of their DNA with us are a very encouraging find. They are very peaceful creatures and a highly interesting fact Eliot Schrefer said was – a bonobo society is a woman based society, here the males of the society are not in charge, but the women have all the power.

And so, came his inspiration to write a book mainly centred around this monkey, bonobo with a girl named Sophie. Together the story takes us on a journey through how they survive an armed conflict that breaks out in the democratic republic of Congo. But that’s the next part of this post.

And, after deciding to place his story in Congo; Eliot Shrefer himself went there to observe the behaviour of these creatures. He showed the middle schoolers of UWCSEA videos of very interesting things such as bonobos using tools, walking on 2 legs, jumping and playing around. One video showed a bonobo, the queen using a rock to break open nuts. One video showed a bonobo untying Mr Eliot’s shoelaces and then trying to tie them again.

The best thing I saw while reading the book was – everything he said was published. From the bonobos having a queen to tying and untying shoelaces, all his research and time spent staying in Congo, going to a sanctuary; was all on paper. This showed me that being a fiction writer isn’t an easy job. It takes hard work and facts, can’t be skipped in any writing.


This post was about Eliot Schrefer’s experience writing the book – the next post will be about the actual book. Its review and my opinion on it.













image – https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81qVCjmb7bL.jpg


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