Customer Reviews for

The Monsters of Templeton

Average Rating 3.5
( 162 )
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(42)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A NEW FAVORITE

An excerpt of my First Look review, full review originally published and copyrighted on my website - www.randomwonder.com:

What can a person say about a book given the gold seal stamp of approval by Stephen King? In what manner will this review add to the mass of hyp...
An excerpt of my First Look review, full review originally published and copyrighted on my website - www.randomwonder.com:

What can a person say about a book given the gold seal stamp of approval by Stephen King? In what manner will this review add to the mass of hype surrounding such notice? Is, "I liked it" enough? .... There's the wayward grad student, returned home pregnant and humiliated. There's the once flower child, now maturing mother, gone Christian. There's the nice hometown boy willing to pick up the pieces. There's a dying friend and an odd assortment of townsfolk. All in all, a nice tidy little group of characters. However, it's when the dead relatives speak and the monster washes ashore that we begin to see this story as something other than standard. We begin to see why King passed out the gold star...... Ms. Groff saves the best of her skills for the final chapter, the voice of the monster. That chapter alone deserves a nod from the literary gods. Once all the little loose ends have been tied neatly (and not too contrived either) we find hope that something that was lost can be found anew.

posted by Tasses on April 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Don't Waste Your Money

I really wanted to like this book. It has history, mystery, scandal, etc. It is a first novel for the author and I noticed she did some research to write the book. In the end, it took me almost a year to finish it. I read lots of other books, but this one dragged on...
I really wanted to like this book. It has history, mystery, scandal, etc. It is a first novel for the author and I noticed she did some research to write the book. In the end, it took me almost a year to finish it. I read lots of other books, but this one dragged on. I had more interest in Clarissa, Willie's best friend, than I did with Willie. Save your money for a really great book and borrow this one from a friend or the library.

posted by p90xer on December 10, 2010

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  • Posted February 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The cover is the best part...

    A little disappointing. The writing style was unique, but the characters were not well developed and the plot was a little dull. All of a sudden BOOM! and the book was over. It took me longer than usual to finish this. I wouldn't recommend it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    Although I really did enjoy the storyline and the way it blended the past with the present, at times I felt that it was a bit disjointed. The beginning and the ending were interesting reads while the middle seemed to drag at times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2009

    Odd and original

    This book was very differnt than my "normal" selection so maybe that's why I found it so offbeat. It was a great style of writing with the historical flashbacks. Slight bit predictable in the modern day storyline, I totally did not get the lake monster connection, but I think it was over-all a good read, but I still say a very odd story! Might have been a little rushed at the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    3.5 out of 5 stars This is a captivating story and I loved the way it was written, but the story seems muddled at times and the ending seems extremely abrupt. Some elements of a super natural nature were brought into the story that I would have loved to see expounded on, particularly the pharmacist. Maybe its not my cup of tea and maybe I'm missing something. The story ended with a reasonable conclusion, but I think you could have squeezed in a chapter or two more to tie up a few loose ends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    3.5 stars I felt that 'The Monsters of Templeton' started off slowly, but I kept with it and the story drew me in. I¿m not one to usually like books that go back and forth between past and present and it did take me a while to get used to the tempo o f the book. Sometimes we forget that the past can and does shape our future, but it doesn¿t have to. We can learn from the past and make changes or resign ourselves to never breaking the mold set for us. The main character did a good job of seeing that the past was the past and the future was hers to determine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    In The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff offers a complex novel developed with elements from several genres ¿ modernism, historical fiction, mystery, and a touch of fantasy. Ostensibly the story of a young woman, Willie¿s, search for the identity of her father, the real protagonist of the novel is the town of Templeton, closely based on Groff¿s hometown of Cooperstown, New York. Drawing in part on the rich history of Cooperstown and the writings of its most famous author, James Fenimore Cooper, and in part on her imaginative creation of the town¿s foreparents, Groff guides Willie on an exploration of her complex descent from the early citizens of Templeton. The journey reveals an abundance of fascinating people and dark secrets. The opening chaper is in the first person of Willie, but from there the author uses multiple voices ¿ at least a dozen different characters speak in the first person (or in the multiple first persons of the Running Buds), sometimes directly and sometimes through letters, diaries, or books excerpts. Occasionally it takes getting well into a chapter before the reader knows who is speaking. This is initially disconcerting, to say the least, and some readers may never become comfortable with this unusual technique. The inclusion of photographs purporting to be of the book¿s historical characters adds an interesting note of realism, as does the inclusion of documents discovered by Willie during her research. The author also provides very useful ¿ indeed almost necessary, given the complexity of the historical relationships ¿ genealogical charts which track Willie¿s progress through her search, though some genealogical purists will be irked by the non-standard presentation. The writing is pleasingly mature for a young writer, with rich descriptive paragraphs which only rarely become a bit over-flowery. The creation of different voices for different historical characters is generally well done. The novel is not without its weaknesses. Character development is limited. Readers who prefer a likable main character to relate to may be disappointed. A few of the plot elements seem overly contrived and unrealistic: for one example, there seems no adequate reason why Willie¿s mother, having revealed part of the secret of Willie¿s paternity, doesn¿t just tell Willie outright who her real father is. Characters occasionally know things which they would have no way of knowing. Unless one is very attentive (and even then) it can be difficult at times to figure out all the confusing relationships presented. A few of the fantasy elements of the novel may have some readers rolling their eyes. Overall this is a very creditable first novel. While it will not appeal to every taste ¿ what novel does? ¿ as Mary Kingsley said of being stranded by the receding tide in a small canoe in a mangrove pool with a resident crocodile, ¿for those who like this sort of thing, it is just the sort of thing they like.¿ The novel deserves to be successful, and I expect that if it reaches the right readers it will indeed find success.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I was very distracted throughout my reading the book because of the many references to James Fenimore Cooper and his world of fiction. I could not help but feel that, by not being familar with those writings, I was missing something important in the many references put into this novel. I still have no idea why the book opens and closes with the monster but ignores it in the middle of the book. I thought at one point that the monster would be the one actively influencing behaviors and killing people in the town throughout history, but that didn't seem to be the case. Why are the monsters and ghosts in in the storyline since they seem to play no active role on moving the storylines along? The book is well written, but, as I said, a disappointment to me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    This first novel by Ms Groff uses a number of writing tricks that are intreging. Flashbacks add a nice historical touch. Some of the story seems contrived. There are a lot of characters for a short book, but Ms Groff does a good job of bringing the story out. The story explores family relationships, especially mother/daughter, but all includes extended family. An interesting read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    In The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff offers a complex novel developed with elements from several genres ¿ modernism, historical fiction, mystery, and a touch of fantasy. Ostensibly the story of a young woman, Willie¿s, search for the identity of her father, the real protagonist of the novel is the town of Templeton, closely based on Groff¿s hometown of Cooperstown, New York. Drawing in part on the rich history of Cooperstown and the writings of its most famous author, James Fenimore Cooper, and in part on her imaginative creation of the town¿s foreparents, Groff guides Willie on an exploration of her complex descent from the early citizens of Templeton. The journey reveals an abundance of fascinating people and dark secrets. The opening chaper is in the first person of Willie, but from there the author uses multiple voices ¿ at least a dozen different characters speak in the first person (or in the multiple first persons of the Running Buds), sometimes directly and sometimes through letters, diaries, or books excerpts. Occasionally it takes getting well into a chapter before the reader knows who is speaking. This is initially disconcerting, to say the least, and some readers may never become comfortable with this unusual technique. The inclusion of photographs purporting to be of the book¿s historical characters adds an interesting note of realism, as does the inclusion of documents discovered by Willie during her research. The author also provides very useful ¿ indeed almost necessary, given the complexity of the historical relationships ¿ genealogical charts which track Willie¿s progress through her search, though some genealogical purists will be irked by the non-standard presentation. The writing is pleasingly mature for a young writer, with rich descriptive paragraphs which only rarely become a bit over-flowery. The creation of different voices for different historical characters is generally well done. The novel is not without its weaknesses. Character development is limited. Readers who prefer a likable main character to relate to may be disappointed. A few of the plot elements seem overly contrived and unrealistic: for one example, there seems no adequate reason why Willie¿s mother, having revealed part of the secret of Willie¿s paternity, doesn¿t just tell Willie outright who her real father is. Characters occasionally know things which they would have no way of knowing. Unless one is very attentive (and even then) it can be difficult at times to figure out all the confusing relationships presented. A few of the fantasy elements of the novel may have some readers rolling their eyes. Overall this is a very creditable first novel. While it will not appeal to every taste ¿ what novel does? ¿ as Mary Kingsley said of being stranded by the receding tide in a small canoe in a mangrove pool with a resident crocodile, ¿for those who like this sort of thing, it is just the sort of thing they like.¿ The novel deserves to be successful, and I expect that if it reaches the right readers it will indeed find success.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I was very distracted throughout my reading the book because of the many references to James Fenimore Cooper and his world of fiction. I could not help but feel that, by not being familar with those writings, I was missing something important in the many references put into this novel. I still have no idea why the book opens and closes with the monster but ignores it in the middle of the book. I thought at one point that the monster would be the one actively influencing behaviors and killing people in the town throughout history, but that didn't seem to be the case. Why are the monsters and ghosts in in the storyline since they seem to play no active role on moving the storylines along? The book is well written, but, as I said, a disappointment to me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I enjoyed the history the book gave on the town and the town people. While I understood the point of the monster I felt it was almost as if it was an aferthought to the story. If you removed the monster from the book completely it would not have changed the story line. The story flowed well and read pretty easy. I would definitely read another book of hers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I for the most part really enjoyed the book. I loved the Chapters about Cinnamon and Charlotte. I have to admit I got confused towards the latter half of the book regarding who everyone was. I think my least favorite chapter was the one about Natty Bumpo. The book felt rushed towards the end ... I would have liked more time with Willie, Vi, Solomon, and Zeke at the end of the book. It seems to me there is more that could be written. I guess the story was just written so well that I was not ready for it to be over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    The novel was a good read, but predictable. I really enjoyed the historical flavor of the book, but wasn't as interested in the modern day story. The monster in the lake just didn't tie in for me. I liked the author's style and loved the photos and revised family trees. I appreciate the research that must have gone into this book and want to visit Cooperstown myself after reading this book. This book reminded me of The Last Days of Dog Town by Anita Diamant because of the historical atmosphere and the switching of points of view among the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    This reads almost like a journal. It gives an intimate view into a person's life and the lives of the people around her. The pace is deliberate and reflective. The characters I loved the most were the residents of Templeton, particularly the Buds (special mention to Clarissa, though). The little snippets you read about their lives make you crave for more. They're not flashy, but there's a quiet dignity about many of the characters. There is the added bonus of solving the mystery together with the main character. You get little clues along the way so it gives you motivation to keep reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I would give this book a rating of 3. I liked the ghosts and Glimmey but I guessed who Willie's father would be right away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5. I enjoyed the plot. For the most part, I thought there was strong character development. The symbolism was too obvious and consumed too much of the story line.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff is an good read, and despite some flaws, kept me engaged. Some parts of the book felt as if they were excellent short stories that had been placed within the framework of a novel, without quite being fully integrated. The historical figures were well developed and richly detailed, but the contemporary characters felt less complete. Groff's love of her hometown shows through and she shows the bittersweetness of knowing that your home is not yours alone. At times the intimacy of this identification with 'Templeton' was so much that it made the reader feel like they were witnessing something almost too private. As a first novel, I think Monsters of Templeton is a huge step in the right direction for Groff, and would like to see more from her in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    This is a book that is difficult to categorize--it has elements of mystery, history, fantasy, biography, romance, even travelogue--but doesn't fit neatly into any one or even two of these genres. Perhaps because of this, I found it to be a bit disjointed and difficult to 'hold together.' This does not mean that I did not enjoy reading the novel, however, and I give the author (authoress?) A+'s in creativity and use of language. Her imagery is vivid and her many similes original and delightful. The scope of The Monsters of Templeton [Sorry, I know the title should be underlined, but I don't see how to do it here!] is broad, spanning 200 years and several generations of a town's inhabitants. I think that this in itself makes for a challenging writing project, and Ms. Groff is to be commended for her accomplishment. The fact that the book didn't quite 'do it' for me is by no means a reflection on the efforts of a first-time novelist and should in no way deter others from reading her work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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