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Book Review: Monsters of Templeton by Laura Groff

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Prompted by a Stephen King recommendation, I ran right out and bought Lauren Groff's The Monsters of Templeton, a unique story told from the point of view of multiple characters. The main character is Willie Upton, who comes home to Templeton pregnant, after having an affair with her graduate professor. She feels as if she is a failure having to rebound back home to live with her mother, who raised her as a single mother. The main characters are the direct descendents of the founders of Templeton. To Willie’s shock, her mother tells her she had deceived her about not knowing who her father is, but he is indeed alive and well, and now it is up to her to figure out who he is.

The story revolves around Willie’s quest for her father. She digs back through her history of ancestors to try to figure out who he is. Along the way we meet a rich cast of characters from the past and present. Each chapter is told by someone different until they all connect into a great mystery. Oh yeah, and there actually was a big blubbery dead monster caught from the city lake, called Glimmey.

Monsters also offers a great mother and daughter tale as they look to heal their relationship throughout the story. Willie learns about the important links between her past and her present in this exciting and mysterious saga.

This novel proves that you cannot judge a book by its cover. While the cover might suggest a horror story, this is a truly a story of historical fiction and family relationships. I liked reading the chapters about the ancestors because I love historical fiction. I did find it confusing at points trying to keep everyone straight, but it was well worth it. I think the monsters of Templeton are not poor Glimmey, but are the monsters of the past.

If you like reading about small town life, family secrets, historical fiction, and beautifully descriptive writing, this book is for you! I would pick up any of Groff's future books. If you too like this book, make sure you put the Memory of Running on your book pile too!

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About Tracy Kokemuller