We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Published: 2016 Genre: Contemporary fiction 1. First lines 2. Cover: Workman Publishing 3. Chimp-human hands [No known copyright] via Dish 4. Darwin,_The_expression_of_the_emotions [CC BY 4.0]

“It takes a kind of courage to be kind.”

“We love you, Charlie Freeman” by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Charlie Freeman is a chimpanzee being used in an experiment funded by a rich heiress, Julia Toneybee-Leroy. The Freeman family (Laurel, Charles and their two daughters Charlotte and Callie) have been hired to live at the Toneybee Institute with Charlie as part of the family, teaching him sign language. As the experiment progresses, each member of the family reacts differently and it is Charlotte who rebels against the situation as she discovers more about the motives and backgrounds of everyone involved.

Glanceabook: “Richly imagined, this story hits the right note – understated enough not to be over-dramatic. It is the characters’ actions, thoughts and feelings that portray themes of racism and exploitation.”

Kirkus: But with humor, irony, and wit, Greenidge tackles this sensitive subject and crafts a light but deeply respectful take on this heavy aspect of America’s treatment of black people. This is a timely work, full of disturbing but necessary observations. A vivid and poignant coming-of-age story that is also an important exploration of family, race, and history.

Washington Independent Review of Books:We Love You, Charlie Freeman is a gripping and gratifying read. Greenidge tackles the risky terrain of ethnicity and race relations with confidence and grace, and has proven herself a writer to watch.”


“I missed my one true friend, my mother. She and I were close in a way I don’t think many other mothers and daughters were. I slept beside her every night of my childhood: so near to her back, I could probably sketch the constellation of moles and freckles on her skin there.”

“I am not beautiful and I am sarcastic and I believe I am better than most in this town and that is why I am a thirty-six-year-old orphan with no husband and why no man in Spring City has ever even held my hand.”

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