Customer Reviews for

The Monsters of Templeton

Average Rating 3.5
( 162 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(62)

3 Star

(40)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted July 9, 2014

    Absolutely LOVED this book! It's the kind you hate to finish be

    Absolutely LOVED this book! It's the kind you hate to finish because you'll miss its characters once done. It had a unique style of writing that hooked me from the start. Very enjoyable read!

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

    Posted February 1, 2013

    A compelling bildungsroman. Somewhat fantastical, but ultimately

    A compelling bildungsroman. Somewhat fantastical, but ultimately relatable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Monstrously good read

    Lauren Groff's first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is a delightful read. I bought it because of its link to Cooperstown, a place I am very familiar with. But it's fascinating to read no matter where you're from. The characters are nicely drawn, the situations each is embroiled in are intriguing, and the history makes it fascinating.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great New Author

    Lauren Groff uses interesting, original characters and geneological research to tell the story of Willie/Sunshine Templeton and her hometown. It's a fascinating story that's presented in an original way. The Monsters of Templeton is an ode to small-towns and the people who live there.

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

    Posted January 4, 2009

    just a different read

    Very different from my routine enjoyed the character and the authors ability to go back into a family history with such storytelling loved it !!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A beauty

    This book was recommended to me by a friend in the UK. He knew that I was a big fan of James Fennimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking Series. It helped some to have read The Pioneers, as some of these characters are interwoven into a story of a woman trying to find her father.<BR/><BR/>It was well written, the characters a little eccentric, but Groff did a good job of making them and the story realistic. The time travel aspect of the novel had me at a loss as to who was who, but after awhile I did not care, just went with the story they were telling and let the characters from The Pioneers carry me where they would.<BR/><BR/>It was a very satisfying read and the novel ended in an unexpected but very satisfactory way. Again expect the unexpected in this little gem.<BR/><BR/>I read very few books over again, this is one I would probably pick up in 5/10 years time!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Strange to say the least...

    but very good.

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

    Posted December 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    First impression after finishing it was 3.5 stars, but over the past few days since I finished reading it, this book has stayed with me and is still floating around top of mind. So I'm bumping my review up to 4 stars. My favorite aspect of this book was the puzzle of Willie's ancestry and how each chapter filled in one specific piece until the last piece was placed, bringing it all together. I loved the multitude of writing styles and voices used for the flashback chapters. A very fun read. However, there are a few quibbles that prevent me from giving this book that extra star. As has been stated in many of the other reviews, when all was said and done, the monster didn't have as much impact on the story as the opening chapter (and the title itself) would lead you to expect. With all the supernatural things going on in Templeton over the centuries, you'd think that the monster would have played a more integral role in at least a couple of them. Willie's story itself is rather slight, ultimately. She spends most of the book looking for answers to a question that really has no weight since her mother already knows the answer and will presumably eventually tell Willie if she truly hit a brick wall. We really don't get any insight into why Willie is the way she is if we base it on the snippets we get of her childhood. And one thing that made me roll my eyes was how after just a couple of weeks, both Willie and Zeke were back to looking 'hot' with trim stomachs and such. For me, it felt a bit Mary Sue-ish to me (to use a fan fiction term). It didn't add to the story, and if anything, seemed a bit too convenient. Even though I enjoyed the puzzle aspect of the book, the chapters were too obviously specific pieces of this puzzle. Once I figured out the structure of how the book was going to unfold, and how there were no wasted pieces, or red herrings, it was pretty easy to figure out who Willie's dad was going to be (if not the exact place he would fit on the family tree). This type of story needed even more chapters that fleshed out the various eras and side characters and it needed to plant seeds of doubt about the information we were being given. The narrators weren't UNreliable enough. We were able to take just about everything they said at face value and that took away of some of the mystery. Of course, it can be argued that this book just wasn't that type of dense novel. Finally, I agree with other reviewers that the book ends a bit too abruptly. Clarissa arrives in Templeton, and even though she's sitting right there with them, she's basically invisible and a non-entity. We spend the whole book hearing about her illness and then we get no resolution about it. Going back to the monster comment above, this would have been a perfect opportunity to allow the new monster to have some sort of positive or pseudo-healing effect on Clarissa. There just needed to be some sort of wrap-up to her situation. But those are quibbles to what was otherwise an incredible book. It's not for everyone, to be sure, but I'd definitely give it a try to see if it's for you. One author recommendation/inspiration I haven't seen mentioned yet is Charles Palliser and his masterpiece, the Quincunx. If you like family tree, onion-mysteries, The Quincunx is the standard. About ten times as dense and complex as Monsters of Templeton and filled with unreliable narrators, it's a book you will never forget. Not for the faint of heart (or weak of bicep). I'd love to hear how much of an influence the Quincunx was for Lauren Groff in writing this book. A second recommendation is another Charles Palliser book, Betrayals, that has a similar hodge-podge of storytelling styles all within the same book, all of them revolving around a generational mystery. (this reminds me that I need to go re-read The Quincunx and Betrayals)

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

    Posted January 28, 2008

    Monsters of Templeton

    Had ordered this book because we had been to Cooperstown for a baseball tournament a few years ago. What a great way to weave in the baseball history and the intriguing histories of the Templeton families. The book was very well-written and I thoroughly enjoyed it - right to the end! Thanks for a great book, Lauren, hope to see more from you!

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff is an interesting read. It takes a few chapters to get into it, but once you are, you leave your world behind and go to the places she writes about. I could have done without the monster aspect of it, but you can still tell Lauren is an excellent writer. The words she uses to describe things pull you in to the story and the setting. Lauren Groff has an excellent future as a writer.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    The characters' development over the historical background reminds us all how our past affects our present. The Monsters of Templeton flows through history and present time seamlessly and interestingly and holds the readers attention. May there always be monsters for us to deal with, be they hidden deep in a lake or within ourselves. What better way to discover who we are.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    Lauren Groff's first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is an engrossing love letter to her hometown of Cooperstown, NY. Groff takes the reader through a page-turning romp through hundreds of years of history, as her main character, Willie Upton, plumbs the rich resources of the (real) New York State Historical Association, and her personal family archives, to expose the secrets and truths of her family history and the origins of her town. The novel highlights the joy of historical research, and explores the notions of historical 'truths.' It's also a revelatory critique of the foundations of America -- we tend to celebrate our founders when in truth they were imperfect humans like the rest of us, many with great flaws we criticize today. These are some of the many 'monsters' of the title. Keeping MOT from a five-star rating is that the rationale for Willie's research project into her family wobbles a little. Her mother, Vi, knows who Willie's father is, but instead of telling her, sends Willie on a search through history. That Willie needs this process for her own healing is briefly indicated at the end. If the novel crystallized this a bit earlier, or if Vi's motivation related more to her curiuosity about genealogical rumours concerning Willie's father, this might have more strongly propelled the narrative. We learn that Vi not only knew who Willie's father was, but ultimately had heard reference to a key secret Willie uncovers. If Vi knew less, perhaps that would have satisfied this concern. It's minor and did not detract from my adoration of this novel, but it's also something that wouldn't take a lot of reworking to address.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    This book was very interesting and captivating. I expected it to be more of a 'sci-fi' read, but it truly is a novel, which I greatly enjoyed. The characters are extremely well developed and so very unique. I find that they are extrememly likeable but very real. They have faults, prejudices, and are all somewhat self involved. I love how by the end of the book we come to understand just what a 'monster' really is. I would definitely recommend this book to others. It is a surprisingly delightful book and should exceed expectations when it is released.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I found the book full of quirky characters that made me laugh, cry and get angry - reminded me a bit of Ann Tyler's novels with a supernatural twist. I liked the way Lauren explained Willie's quest to trace her ancestry - giving the details in the voice of the ancestor. There were so many characters, I found myself going back and rereading portions of the book to make sure I had everyone straight - the addition of the family tree definitely helped! This is a wonderful first book. Lauren should be congratulated.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I enjoyed it a lot, it had a great plot and the subject and characters kept me enthralled. It was an interesting story and how to tell people about the history of a certain town by dissecting its people and let's not forget adding a monster to keep it interesting. The only thing that kept it from being a 5-star read for me was that in the middle of the book I had some trouble putting things together, now it could have been me seeing I'm not a rocket scientist but I really don't think she only wants rocket scientists to read her book. All in all I think most people will enjoy this work and it will be well received by both sexes.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I did finish reading The Monsters of Templeton and really enjoyed it! There is much good material in this work for discussion from family tress to the many monsters lurking within in the work. Lauren does a terrific job weaving the tale of a town with the story of the monster. The twists and turns the plot takes keep it interesting from start to finish.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    The most original work I have read in a long time if not ever. The different voices threw me off at first, new to me, but I realized, as I read that the many voices added so much meat to the novel. Good Work Lauren.

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    I found it a fast read and enjoyed the different personality quirks that each character had. The twists and turns of geneaology that threaded through the story had my attention!

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    This was a great read! The characters were truly believable and sympathetic. I, too, wondered why the name Cooperstown was not used. I never knew if I was supposed to think of the town as Cooperstown or the fictitious Templeton. Loved the use of the lake monster throughout the novel. It was a great thread to tie everything up!

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

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Monsters of Templeton

    Wonderful storyline. Great character development. Twists and turns that make you want more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 4