Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

The Monsters of Templeton

by Lauren Groff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2451392,861 (3.65)166
  1. 50
    The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry (amyblue)
  2. 40
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Precocious young women in small towns.
  3. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (amyblue)
  4. 10
    Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (wandering_star)
  5. 10
    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Similar feel to the writing styles. Complicated mother/daughter relationships and strong Yankee atmosphere.
  6. 00
    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Anonymous user)
  7. 00
    The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay (y2pk)
    y2pk: Young woman on a quest; literary subplots.
  8. 00
    The River Wife by Jonis Agee (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Although not exactly similar in terms of plot line, there is a definite likeness in feel and atmosphere as well as the use of several overlapping story lines.
  9. 00
    The Lagoon by Lilli Carre (rjuris)
  10. 00
    What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg (rjuris)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 166 mentions

English (137)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (139)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
this book was chosen as my in-person book club's read for june, 2017, and i am so glad to have finally read it as this novel has been sitting on my shelf since its release. i have read groff's novel Arcadia - which i loved - so was glad for the push to move monsters up my TBR list.

this is groff's first book, and there are some wobbles within. i struggled a bit with the bit of dabbling she does with magical realism, and i also wondered about the friendship between willie and her best friend clarissa. both characters are terrific, and the fact groff portrays lupus (SLE) through clarissa was absolutely fascinating to me, as someone who lives lupus. but i felt this aspect of the storyline, as interesting as it was, a bit weak in relation to the full picture and i questioned its necessity as it was written. (sorry!!!!) BUT... my few small issues aside, i found the story captivating, and i was so engaged with it all. the story jumps around, so if you prefer linear storytelling, this may not be a great read for you. i liked this aspect of the style, and got a bit goofy-happy by the inclusion of a map, photos (who ARE the real people??), and family trees. groff notes that, really, this novel is a tribute to her hometown of cooperstown, ny. and i think it is a wonderful love letter to her special place in the world.

interesting side note: groff agent for this book was Bill Clegg, author of Did You Ever Have a Family. ( )
  Booktrovert | Jun 14, 2017 |
While the mysteries in this book are compelling, I found the heroine very annoying, as she never seems to learn anything from her mistakes or those of her ancestors. In fact, she never seems to realize what her mistakes are! This problem left me kind of feeling let down at the end of the book, as it rendered the story pointless. I also think I should warn that this book is full of the usual narrow-minded hatred of Christians and Christianity and blind acceptance of everything else. This won't be a book I read again, and I'll probably not read anything else this author comes out with. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
I liked the premise - a student of archeology comes home in a fit of despair, she tried to run over her boyfriends wife with an airplane. Pregnant, close to being kicked out of grad school, she goes home to her eccentric home town, where her mother raised her single handedly. She learns that her father isn't who she thought he was and goes on a quest to find him.

The story is well told, the history of the town incredibly interesting. At times, heart breaking, at other time, funny. Unfortunately, I found Willie to be quite unlikable. She is condescending, unfunny, and quite boring. Her friend, Clarissa, is a much more interesting character, even if she is minor character.

This story reminds a bit like a Jane Austin novel, full of misunderstandings, etiquette gaffes, and general hijynxs, but its missing the warmness of a Jane Austin Novel.

Overall, the story was interesting, it captivated my attention, ij an interesting setting, but I never warmed up to the characters ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Dec 14, 2016 |
God, sometimes I love my job! I commute two hours to and from work every day, and given current traffic conditions in the Austin area, you can go ahead and add at least another half hour to my drive home. I'll sometimes stop and grab a burger for dinner, going through the drive-through and then sitting in the parking lot to eat. I always have a book in the car, so this gives me a little uninterrupted reading time while I finish my burger.

Most times, this takes 20-30 minutes. But every once in a while I hit a book that grabs hold and won't let go. Currently, that's Lauren Groff's debut novel The Monsters of Templeton.

I loved the cover as soon as I saw it, and when I read the catalog copy, I knew I had to read it. A couple of chapters in and I was gone, completely caught up in Templeton and its denizens, past and present. I was as eager as Willie to unravel her tangled family history, and logic lost all hold on me:

[Logic] You should get going.

[Me] (muttered while reading) Um hmm.

[Logic] You've still got 75 miles to go.

[Me] Um hmm.

[Logic] You can read the book when you get home.

[Me] Um hmm.

[Logic] You're not even listening to me, are you. You're just going to keep reading until you finish the book, and we won't get home until eleven o'clock. The cats are gonna be pissed, you know.

[Me] Um hmm.

[Logic] *sigh*

I came to myself an hour later, with tears in my eyes and a big, goofy grin on my face, thinking that I couldn't wait to tell someone about this amazing book.

It's part domestic novel, part historical fiction, and part mystery, with a dash of the supernatural for flavor. It's sad and funny and sweet and somehow realistic and dreamy at the same time. Stephen King compares the book to Ray Bradbury's work, and I have to agree. There's something in this story that just slips past my logic and connects with me, and Bradbury has that same effect.

As if this wasn't enough, it's also closely tied in to the works of James Fenimore Cooper (Templeton was a pseudonym that Cooper himself used for Cooperstown). I'm not familiar enough with Cooper's work to judge the accuracy with which this material is tied in, but I can say that for someone unfamiliar with Cooper, it worked just fine. ( )
1 vote Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Fun and sweet but very plotty. I grew a little tired of the narrator by p. 300. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"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
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
27 avail.
151 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.65)
0.5 2
1 17
1.5 3
2 47
2.5 19
3 166
3.5 68
4 274
4.5 38
5 110

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,179,337 books! | Top bar: Always visible