2009: 17. The Monsters of Templeton

“The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.”

The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff

I picked up this book about four times before I bit the bullet and bought it - I was constantly attracted by the striking cover, and then I read the back and I saw something about a monster? on the back, and realized I’d never heard anything about the book, and noted it was a New York Times bestseller (which can be good, but more likely is like, The DaVinci Code, or Marley and Me).  But then one day I just bought it and read it and enjoyed it, learning the unfortunate lesson that sometimes I can judge a book by its cover.  Because it was a pretty good read.  Although this is yet another book with the plot of “person figures out their family’s mysterious  past,” the book felt fresh, largely because it was so ground in a place - here the fictional town of Templeton, which is a stand-in for Cooperstown, NY.  The main character is a descendant of the famous author of Templeton (the novel’s version of James Fenimore Cooper - she is also connected to the people who brought the baseball museum to town), who has come home in disgrace, fleeing a failed love affair with her married graduate school professor (and a possible pregnancy).  Miserable and depressed, she is moping around until her mother lets loose a big secret - her father is not some anonymous hippy, but instead a member of the community, and gives her enough hints that (with a great deal of research) she might just be able to figure out who it is.  And the author not only creates pretty interesting snapshots of these ancestors (and creates a pretty compelling character in our narrator, her mother, and her friends (loved the running pack that comments on the towns events), but manages to wind in characters from Fenimore Cooper’s work as people from her past - clever!  And that monster? A Loch Ness monster type creature whose discovery changes the whole feeling of the town.  Just an enjoyable gem of a book - too much fun!

Date/Place Completed: February 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017