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 day or night.
from page 1, The Monsters of Templeton
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff tells the story of Willie Upton and her search for her father. Willie is a descendant of Marmaduke Temple, the founding father of Templeton, the sleepy little town where she grew up. Both of her mother's parents were descendants of Temple--one through his marriage and the other through his dalliance with the family's slave. For years Willie's mother, Vi, regaled her daughter with the story of her conception: how Vi left home as a teenager for a hippie commune in San Francisco where pot and free love were the norm; how Vi could never be sure of Willie's father because she was with a different man at the commune nearly every night. When Willie comes home to nurse a broken heart and ponder her future, Vi drops a bombshell: Willie's father is actually a man in town who also claimed to be a descendant of Marmaduke Temple through some ancestor's extramarrital affair. This is a genealogical mystery as Willie trolls her family tree looking for the branch that spawned her father. Nearly equal time is give to the many, brightly colorful, vividly drawn characters that populate Willie's family tree. The narrator shifts from Willie to other ancestors as she searches for the one from whom her father is descended.
You will enjoy this book as much for the mystery of Willie's paternity and the nature of the monster that is found in the lake as you will for the humorous, eccentric characters that populate the novel. I highly recommend you try out this book. It is available upon request from Lebanon Community Library and Myerstown Community Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie