Small Town Drama

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
Willhemina Upton, a direct descendant of Marmaduke Temple, the founder of her hometown of Templeton, returns home to lick her wounds following a disastrous affair with her professor. On the day of her arrival, the dead body of the monster of Templeton, known as Glimmey is found in lake Glimmerglass, confirming rumors more than two centuries old as to it’s existence. Willie finds refuge in her ancestral family home with her mother Vi, a born again Baptist after having been a hippie for the better part of her life. Willie, having always accepted her mother’s story about having had sex with three men at the commune she lived in at seventeen, had thought believed that any of those three men could potentially be her father, but is surprised when Vi informs her that her father is actually a resident of Templeton and also a descendant of Marmaduke Temple, though she refuses to tell her Willie who the man is. This prompts Willie to embark on a search through the family tree to find her father. We’re introduced to the cast of characters that are her ancestors, through various written documents and also from their own voices. Little by little, as Willie keeps digging she uncovers one family secret after another along with a few other monsters.

I found the story interesting and enjoyed visiting the past of this fictional town. It’s clear Groff had to do extensive research for the novel and it clearly paid off. I’m sure others might find this book very enjoyable but I found I just didn’t care about what happened. But please don’t let that influence you if you are interested in reading this book since it has plenty going for it and the fact is I’m having trouble connecting with just about everything these days.

I gave it: ★★★ (I wanted to like it but couldn’t connect)

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