The Stud Book

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Overview

     Sarah studies animal behavior at the Oregon Zoo. An expert on the mating habits of captive animals, she is increasingly desperate to create sweet little offspring of her own. Georgie is busy navigating the terrors of new motherhood—from misplaced postpartum painkillers to the potential sublimation of her identitywhile her husband finds solace in bourbon and televised violence. (Dead girl on the screen? Take a shot!). Dulcet, defiantly married and childless, makes a living ...
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The Stud Book

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Overview

     Sarah studies animal behavior at the Oregon Zoo. An expert on the mating habits of captive animals, she is increasingly desperate to create sweet little offspring of her own. Georgie is busy navigating the terrors of new motherhood—from misplaced postpartum painkillers to the potential sublimation of her identitywhile her husband finds solace in bourbon and televised violence. (Dead girl on the screen? Take a shot!). Dulcet, defiantly married and childless, makes a living stripping down in high school gyms to sell the beauty of sex-ed. Nyla is out to save the earth while possibly losing her own teen daughter to the world of drugs and the occult. As these friends navigate a space between freedom and intimacy, they realize the families they forge through shared experience are as important as those inherited through birth.
     A smart, edgy, and poignantly funny exploration of the complexities of what parenthood means today, The Stud Book demonstrates that when it comes to babies, we can learn a lot by considering our place in the animal kingdom.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sarah works at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore., monitoring animal behavior and mating activity while trying to carry a pregnancy to term after several miscarriages. Her academic friend Georgie is on maternity leave with a largely absent husband and a “French feminist tramp stamp.” Dulcet and Nyla, the other half of this friend foursome, are a bit older: Nyla has daughters in high school and college; photographer and sex-educator Dulcet has a medical marijuana prescription and a “living anatomy lesson” in the form of a bespoke latex suit covered with “an anatomically correct illustration of a woman’s internal organs... with the vulnerability of the inside lacing the outside.” All four are native Portlanders, and while Drake’s interest is clearly women’s lives and the push-pull forces of biology, what really stands out is her depiction of their city. This is not the twee wonderland of Portlandia—it’s a place where anything potentially usable goes on the curb with “paper signs screaming FREE!” despite the inevitable rain that turns would-be recyclables into a “multileveled mold collection.” Drake’s characters don’t just remember an older, more run-down city, they seem to inhabit it: Nyla opens a store in a dicey neighborhood, her daughter goes to a subpar school, day laborers wait for work. While the women’s specific plights don’t always carry enough weight, Drake (Clown Girl) combines their lives in a quirky, knowing way, showing the complexities of modern-day female life, species Pacific Northwest native. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Drake (Clown Girl, 2006) pointedly avoids sentimentality in writing about Portland friends who approach sex and procreation with varying degrees of desire, fear and trepidation. The central character, 38-year-old Sarah, studies animal habits, especially regarding procreation, at the Oregon Zoo; the novel's title refers to an international record book for mandrills dealing with births, couplings and deaths. Ironically, Sarah and her less than macho husband, Ben, who works in mortgage financing and has been known to sit to pee, have been through three failed pregnancies by the first chapter, with more failures likely to come. Even if Sarah's desire to have a baby is mostly an animal need to procreate, she can't help feeling jealous of her best friend, Georgie, who has recently had a baby by C-section. But Georgie, who overcame her hard-core childhood to become a literary professor, is a mess--afraid to put the baby down and taking pain pills--while her husband escapes with increasing frequency to the local bar, where he plays a macabre drinking game, taking a shot every time a dead girl shows up on the TV screen. Sara and Georgie's slightly older, widowed friend Nyla is a cartoonishly idealistic yoga instructor and environmentalist who has raised two daughters alone. While the older girl is successfully off to college (Brown no less), Nyla remains willfully oblivious about her younger daughter's typical but dangerous adolescent crises. Nyla is also happily pregnant without a partner. Then there's Dulcet, who has zero interest in babies and works in an anatomically correct body suit to teach sex ed when she's not having casual sex with strangers. All the friends grew up in pre-hipster Portland, and the portrait of the city in its evolution sometimes outshines the lives of these unhappy, increasingly annoying characters. Often sharply observed, at its best this is a comedy of manners among a very distinct subset--the not quite successful but intellectually self-superior--so the tragic and uplifting elements bunched together in the last chapters seem to come out of left field.
From the Publisher
“Monica Drake has written a take-your-breath-away good, blow-your-mind wise, crack-your-heart-open beauty of a novel. The Stud Book is a smart, sexy, comic, compassionate, absorbing, and necessary story of our times.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things 
 
The Stud Book is a dreamy, druggy, sexy concoction--no surprise coming from the author of Clown Girl. I was instantly consumed by its evocative exploration of motherhood in the Pacific Northwest. Monica Drake's vision of the world is like no other.” —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins and The Melting Season
 
“Hilarious, heart-wrenching, and stylistically brilliant, The Stud Book is about who we are and why we matter--about our stubborn, beautiful drive to make life, love, a world inhabitable for those who come after us. If women carry whole worlds into unknown futures, Monica Drake is the mapmaker of the human condition.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Dora: A Headcase
 
“Monica Drake is one of the smartest, funniest writers working today and The Stud Book moves from farce to satire to tender melodrama without missing a beat.”
—Chelsea Cain, author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series
 
“What's to say? Laughter is the highest praise, and Monica Drake makes me laugh. The Stud Book is so funny it could make a dog laugh.” —Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

“Monica Drake takes a scalpel eye and an acid wit to the hearts and flowers of motherhood. What’s left when she’s done is a portrait of desire and danger and need and greed. Very funny, very bright, very unsafe.” —Kevin Canty, author of Everything and A Stranger in This World

“Like a mandrill's florid display, The Stud Book is Monica Drake's vivid show of talent, verve and attraction. You will fall in love with her characters as they fight against the enclosures—or are they cages?—of adulthood and parenthood, before ultimately learning to live in blessed, but now unbowed, captivity.” —Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Triburbia

“What really stands out is her depiction of [the] city. This is not the twee wonderland of Portlandia...Drake combines [her characters’] lives in a quirky, knowing way, showing the complexities of modern-day female life, species Pacific Northwest native.” —Publishers Weekly

The Stud Book is a wild ride full of dark humor...Drake reminds us that we aren’t so different from our animal ancestors: Many of our desires are, and have always been, primal. What we choose to do with these desires, well, that’s what makes us human.” Book Page

“Drake teases out the intersection between theories on parenthood, evolution, sex, and reproduction. The result is a relevant and original story about life and selfworth in an increasingly crowded world....Drake’s sharp wit and contemporary take on ecology and adult life make this an entertaining and thought-provoking read.” Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307955524
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 659,750
  • Product dimensions: 6.66 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

MONICA DRAKE is the author of Clown Girl (Hawthorne Books), winner of an Eric Hoffer Award and an "IPPY" (Independent Publishers Award). Her essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of journals, and she is a regular contributor to The Oregonian, The Portland Mercury, and the Stranger (Seattle). Monica has an MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently faculty at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Angela

    Hey ya'll!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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