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The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
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The Monsters of Templeton

by Lauren Groff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,3421473,879 (3.64)174
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» See also 174 mentions

English (144)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
The first chapter almost put me off, stupid girl runs home after getting knocked up by her married professor, blech. Kept reading and this turned into a quirky, fun, engaging read! I fell in love with many of the characters, most oddly, Glimmy, the Lake monster. Spending summers at a lake in Quebec, I have always wondered what was down below, i hope it is a relative of Glimmy!

To enjoy this book you have to surrender to it's magical qualities, not be too literal, and step aboard for the journey back in time. This writer has a talent for bringing characters to life, and I would love to see her continue to write historical fiction. This is a feel-good book, great for a lift when the news of the day is getting you down! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
What an outstanding book! I think I picked this up because of Amy's review of it, but I'm not sure. Regardless of why, I'm very glad I did.

As I started the book, I rather expected a combination of magical realism, and the inexorable draw of home, with a bit of hokey love story. The writing, though, drew me in (despite some depression-induced trouble concentrating. The depression is lifting, thank goodness), so I was perfectly okay with some cliches.

Nope, no cliches here. And, no cliche turned upside-down to be clever, either. This novel is very original, as well as delightfully well written. The author weaves in the perspective and voice changes into a very cohesive narrative. It has some of the appeal of an epistolary novel, without overtly being one; you'll enjoy those aspects if you enjoy epistolary stories, and you probably won't notice them if you don't care for that kind of story.

I really pity whoever has to pick this novel's genre; I can think of at least three different places to shelve this one.

I'm tempted to end this review the way the novel ends; you'll see why when you read it :) ( )
  hopeevey | May 19, 2018 |
Couldn't put it down...when I did I couldn't wait to get it back open. What a delightful, unapologetic, real and fanciful, historical and thoroughly modern tale. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
I just couldn't bring myself to like the main character very much. She was casually cruel to everyone throughout the book - her mother, friends, lovers - for no apparent reason. The only person she wasn't cruel to was the one who deserved it (creepy professor who would, in real life, be fired for sleeping with one of his doctoral students). Since the premise of the book is that Willie is going to track down her father by digging through family history, it's important that her mother won't tell her who her father is. Yet the author should have come up with a more believable reason than just "I won't tell you, because I don't want you to know, but I will give you a ton of hints so you can guess!" It's just not very plausible.

Overall, the story is engaging - even if the genealogical "history" is a bit longwinded sometimes - but I can't say I really loved this because of Willie's inexplicable cruelty. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Pros: Map, Photographs, vivid description of finding The Monster

CONS: 1. gratuitous inclusion and repletion of "felcher" definition - why? wtf? - this ruined the book.

Clearly, I became the unintended audience though The Monster and The Runners spoke to me.

2. Continuous repetition of character flaws drilled into readers with near-Dickensonian intensity

3. Contrived plot with dual Mother/Daughter unwed and pregnant

4. Mother's silly disclosure with refusal to tell the full truth leading to boring & confusing
obsessive search leading to this reader's 'who cares?' and skimming toward end to see
what, if any, resolutions happened in either plot or character changes

5. THE WORST CON is the use of the word LUMP to describe her unborn baby:

for women, this word means CANCER - what a grotesque association! ( )
  m.belljackson | Sep 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
A first-time novelist sets herself a nearly impossible task by employing characters invented by a novelist acknowledged as an American master. Unlike James Fenimore Cooper, though, Groff can write. . . And while I loved the unintentional effrontery of showing up that unreadable great, I was also conscious of being a captive audience at a recital. . . “The Monsters of Templeton” is propelled, and undone, by ambition.
 
The result is a pleasurably surreal cross between The Stone Diaries and Kind Hearts and Coronets.
 
The trouble with “The Monsters of Templeton” is that its complications seem nonstop. . . Ms. Groff’s inexperience shows in this overcrowding, as it does in overly mellifluous turns of phrase (“the deer darting startled through the dark”). And she tries out more voices and documents than she can comfortably create.
 
The whole find-your-real-dad scavenger hunt is a little contrived. . . But Groff has concocted such a rich trove of source documents – portraits, old letters, journal entries, and reminiscences by characters lifted from Fenimore Cooper's writings – that readers will be too busy gleefully burrowing into the fictitious past she has created to mind.
 
[A] delightful and challenging novel. . . Groff breathes new life into her vivid characters, even those on loan from Cooper's novels.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Groffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, Ann MarieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, BethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Ah, my friend, 'tis true!" cried old Natty
Bumppo, slapping his knee. "A man cannot know
hisself if he don't know where he come from."
—Jacob Franklin Temple,
The Pilgrims of Templeton
Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are
terrible round about. . . By his neesings a light
doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the
morning . . . He maketh a path to shine after him;
one would think the deep to be hoary. Upon earth
there is not his like, who is made without fear.
He beholdeth all things: he is a king over
all the children of pride.

—The King James Bible,
Job 41: 14, 18, 32-34
This is a story of creation.
—Marmaduke Temple,
Tales of the American Wilderness, 1797
Dedication
For my parents, Gerald and Jeannine Groff
First words
The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass. It was one of those strange purple dawns that color July there, when the bowl made by the hills fills with a thick fog and even the songbirds sing timorously, unsure of the day or night.
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Book description
Publisher's Summary:
In the wake of a disastrous affair with her older, married archeology professor at Stanford, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned-born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, New York - a storybook town her ancestors founded that sits on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake, bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town. And Willie learns she has a mystery father her mother has kept secret for Willie's entire life.

The beautiful, broody Willie is told that the key to her biological father's identity lies somewhere in her twisted family tree. She finds more than she bargained for as a chorus of voices from the town's past, some sinister, all fascinating, rise up around her to tell their side of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present day are blurred, and old mysteries are finally put to rest.

This is a fresh, virtuoso performance that will surely place Groff among the best young writers of today.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 140134092X, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month, February 2008: On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town's lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler’s Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, "reproduced" in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff's endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of "monsters," both in our towns and our families. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster's death changes the fabric or the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town." "As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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