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The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
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The Monsters of Templeton (edition 2008)

by Lauren Groff

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2,1641363,003 (3.66)164
Member:MyBookishWays
Title:The Monsters of Templeton
Authors:Lauren Groff
Info:Voice/Hyperion (2008), Edition: 1st ed, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

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» See also 164 mentions

English (132)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
Even though the New York Times says that the narrator/heroine Willie Upton is "disarming and smart" and more interesting than "the elaborate events that surround her", I actually found the opposite to be true. Willie seemed spoiled and entitled and in dire need of a reality check; her mother, Vi, was maddening, and her best friend too perfect. It was like watching a rom com with the appropriately wacky supporting cast. In the end, it wasn't Willie that kept me reading, but her ancestors. They were interesting, complicated people. Lauren Groff is a short-story writer and the book feels it, at times; it reads like a series of vignettes loosely connected by a common theme -- Templeton -- rather than a novel, but in the end, I enjoyed it. ( )
  unabridgedchick | Aug 12, 2016 |
Loved the characters in this novel. Very vivid and memorable. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
This book took work to finish. Sometimes it was quite good, but other times it was slogging. I particularly liked the letters which helped fill out all the historical characters, as well as the journal entries and other ephemera included in the book. I got a bit tired of Willie's whining and found the characters from the past, the ghost and Glimmey much more interesting. Still, it was a book worth reading. ( )
  debs913 | Apr 2, 2016 |
This is a really charming, clever story of a mid-20's girl who returns to her small hometown under shameful circumstances, and has to find a way to move forward. Her mother suggests a family history research project, through which she learns the sordid and complicated details of the many generations of her family who have lived in/around the same small town. Through this research, she also learns a great deal about herself. I became so engrossed in the writing and the characters, that I found it very difficult to put the book down! ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
This is a really charming, clever story of a mid-20's girl who returns to her small hometown under shameful circumstances, and has to find a way to move forward. Her mother suggests a family history research project, through which she learns the sordid and complicated details of the many generations of her family who have lived in/around the same small town. Through this research, she also learns a great deal about herself. I became so engrossed in the writing and the characters, that I found it very difficult to put the book down! ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (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 (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Groffprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Ann MarieNarratorsecondary 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)

(summary from another edition)

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