Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Monsters of Templeton

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I had been on such a good roll!  I had been reading some really amazing stories, one right after another, but I guess it had to end somewhere, and so it came to a screeching halt with The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.  Wow...  I mean just wow... This book rambled on and on and was just so bizarre that I had to keep reading to see what other crazy thing was going to happen. 

So anyway lets cut to the chase...  Here is the plot line...  When the story opens we are in a picturesque little town in upstate New York called Templeton (based loosely on the authors home town of Cooperstown NY).  It is one of those places with a lot of history (apparently the birth place of baseball), where everyone knows everyone else's business, and most people don't ever leave.  In the town there is a HUGE glacial lake called Lake Glimmerglass. On this particular morning on the lake a rower finds the legendary lake monster Glimmey floating belly up.  On this same morning Willie Upton comes home from her life in Stanford University, pregnant with her professors baby and feeling like it is the end of her world.  While she is home her mother, an aging hippie turned evangelis, Vi, sets Willie working on a project that will keep her mind off all her troubles.  Vi tells Willie that her father is an upstanding man from Templeton (not just a past fling from her Hippie days), but the kick is that Vi isn't telling who.  The only clue that Willie has is that her father is in a very round about illegitimate way related to the Temples that founded this little town, while Willie is a direct descendant of the founding father Marmaduke Temple. To solve the mystery Willie has to dive deep into her family history that stretches back across 2 centuries to the first citizens of Templeton.

The story wasn't all bad it was just weird and I though the plot was flimsy.  The characters weren't all that fleshed out and the only real interesting thing to me was the lake monster but as unique of an angle as that could have been there wasn't much going on with poor dead Glimmey.  I did like that the chapters were all in different voices, some times in Willies, sometimes in Willies relatives that span across 2 centuries.  And I did like that they gave a little tiny shout out to my home town Louisville Kentucky (small mention of the Louisville Bats)!!  All and all it isn't one that will leave a lasting impression on me that is for sure.

Annoying Book Moment:  Lauren Groff was a bit obsessed with the "he said", "she said" bit.  During a conversation between characters it was getting a bit redundent when the page read like this:
"Bla diddy blah blah" She said
"Blah Blah Blah" He said
"Yadda Yadda Yadda Blah" She said
"Smakety smakety yadda bla" He said.
"Bla Ba diddy yadda bla" She said.
"blah blah blah" He said.
It was down right maddening with all the "said said said" on every other page.

Book vs. Movie:  I don't think that this book would make a good screen play.  While the story was somewhat interesting I don't think I could see it on the big screen.  It would be WAY too slow moving for me.

The Monsters of Templeton
by Lauren Groff

If you like this book you should read: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews


  1. Interesting - so you're saying the "weird" was just for the sake of weird? Or did it all come together in some semblance of sense to mean...something? Either way, sounds great, actually!

    PS. Go Bats! (I'm a diehard Reds fan...)

  2. Hey Greg,
    Well it did kind of come together but I felt like a lot of plot lines were just left hanging. And it was a happy ending all around, which is good but not so realistic after all the drama, I felt like the author got board writing it so she just took the main characters and wrapped their story lines up in a nice little bow and then dropped everything else. Just my opinion though, you should absolutely read it and let me know what you thought about it. That is what is so great about this kind of blog, opinions for everyone to discuss!!! :)

  3. Thanks for the review. I'm simultaneously turned off and curious! ;-)