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Monday, Monday: A Novel Hardcover – April 29, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This intense novel opens with a horrific scene depicting one of the first mass shootings in U.S. history, when Charles Whitman killed 17 students at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966. Shelly, a freshman, is grievously wounded by the sniper’s bullet and convinced she will bleed out on the searing concrete plaza, where she lies surrounded by the dead. But two cousins, Jack and Wyatt, come to her rescue. That singular, surreal encounter binds them together over decades as Shelly and the married Wyatt engage in a profound and passionate love affair, which produces a child. Jack and his wife adopt the child and generously welcome Shelly into their lives, while Wyatt moves to Provincetown, where his art career takes off. Even as Shelly finds love again with a smart and generous man, she is still tethered to her firstborn child and haunted by her secret love affair. Although the plot of Crook’s fourth novel (after The Night Journal, 2007) sometimes loses its way after its potent opening, overall this is a vivid portrayal of resolve in the face of great tragedy. --Joanne Wilkinson


This is a vivid portrayal of resolve in the face of great tragedy. (Booklist)

. . . this book, recast as a novel about a mass murder 48 years ago this summer, may help explain the mindsets of surviving victims from Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and the like. (The Buffalo News)

Framing a story in the context of calamity--in this instance, mass murder--invites both sensationalism and sentimentality; there have been few memorable successes, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed among them. Add Crook's latest to the plus side of the list….confident and lyrical as it smartly engages terror and its aftermath. (Kirkus (starred review))

[Monday, Monday] is rich in detail and grand in scope. . . the emotional journey shown in the novel remains honest, and deeply human. (Bustle)

Love, loss, redemption, forgiveness--all are expertly drawn in a narrative that is so very authentic and generous. Crook skillfully weaves together several compelling stories through her close attention to the Texas setting. VERDICT The sensitively explored themes of adoption and coping with violence should create interest in this rich and satisfying tale. (Library Journal)

The tale unwinds like an examination of the ripple effect. . . As readers, we have the benefit of sitting in the sand and watching them break on the shoreline. . . This story is the antithesis to the diagram published in the pages of Time magazine shortly after the shooting. Crook forsakes the aerial view and brings your cheek right on down to the scalding pavement. (Austin Chronicle)

[E]loquent. . . Monday, Monday opens with a random, hideous act, but thankfully the novel isn't about that moment or the gunman. The shooting sets in motion an entire lifetime of relationships; from an act of violence springs love, friendship, loss, forgiveness and survival. . . Crook's writing shimmers with life. . . [The story] explores the complex messiness of being human and the ways in which even the best intentions can create consequences both hurtful and beautiful. It's intense and emotional, but never maudlin. . . The scenery looms large, but this is story painted on a canvas much larger than the state. Crook has created a gorgeous, worthy and entirely believable read. (San Antonio Express-News)

[An] intensely imagined novel. . . The story unfurls simply and smoothly, with a quiet insistence much like the path the characters will take. Crook renders Shelly's interior life delicately and fully, and artfully conveys her many moments of panic and anguish. (Publishers Weekly)

Authentic. . . harrowing. . . makes us believe the characters were there. . . Crook's exploration of Whitman's massacre and its lingering effects will have relevance for years to come. (Dallas Morning News)

Beautifully written. . . The book is a complex tale about overcoming fear and the risks and power of love. . . And it is the story of the compromises we all make to get by in this imperfect world. Part of what makes this book so compelling is the open and tender way each character is honestly but lovingly portrayed. . . A wonderful book that will make you cry, but also uplift you. (BookPage)

This rapturous novel starts with one of the most heinous shootings in history, yet every page shines with life. Crook follows three students who endured the tragedy as they grapple with the past, struggle to navigate their futures, and discover that who and what saves us is nothing like what you imagine. Brilliantly realized and so vivid the novel seems to virtually breathe, Monday, Monday is a stunning achievement. (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You)

Elizabeth Crook has written an extraordinary novel--an eloquent love story born from an act of random violence, a tale of destruction and redemption. It's about making a whole life out of a damaged one, and about holding on and letting go. The characters are as real as people you know; their story is subtle, startling, and wise. (SARAH BIRD, author of The Yokota Officers Club and Above the East China Sea)

In Monday, Monday, Elizabeth Crook uses vivid, gripping prose and in-depth historical research to shed light on one of the darkest moments in Texas history... by detailing the fictional lives of three survivors caught in the crosshairs. (The Rivard Report)

Monday, Monday begins by throwing us into the midst of one of the worst mass murders in American history, a scene painted with such harrowing exactitude that it leaves you wondering how the characters can possibly survive and how the author can possibly sustain such a high level of narrative momentum and emotional insight. And yet Elizabeth Crook pulls it off. This is a brilliant and beautiful book. (STEPHEN HARRIGAN, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Edition edition (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374228825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374228828
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Crook was born in Houston and lived in Nacogdoches and then San Marcos, Texas with her parents and brother and sister until age seven when the family moved to Washington D.C., where her father was director of VISTA for Lyndon Johnson. Two years later her father was appointed Ambassador to Australia and the family moved to Canberra. When they returned to Texas Elizabeth attended public schools in San Marcos, graduating from San Marcos High School in 1977. She attended Baylor University for two years and graduated from Rice University in 1982. She has written four novels: The Raven's Bride and Promised Lands, published by Doubleday and reissued by SMU Press as part of the Southwest Life and Letters series; The Night Journal, published by Viking/Penguin in 2006 and reissued in paperback by Penguin; and Monday, Monday, published by Sarah Crichton Books, FSG, in April 2014 and due in paperback from Picador in September, 2015. Elizabeth has written for periodicals such as Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters and the board of the Texas Book Festival. She is a member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America and The Texas Philosophical Society, and was selected the honored writer for 2006 Texas Writers' Month. Her first novel, The Raven's Bride, was the 2006 Texas Reads: One Book One Texas selection. The Night Journal was awarded the 2007 Spur award for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction. Monday, Monday was awarded the 2015 Jesse H. Jones award for fiction.
Elizabeth currently lives in Austin with her husband and two children. Visit her website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Free2Read on February 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
MONDAY, MONDAY by Elizabeth Crook says right on the cover, "a novel." So I don't know why I expected a sort of true-crime look at the Texas Tower shooter of 1966.

The first chapter opens with the shooting, with the focus on three specific victims. As the story progresses, we are swept into Shelly's life. She has survived the shooting, but she has been physically and emotionally changed by the event. Her rescuers, Wyatt and Jack,are also forever changed.

We follow these three as they move through their lives, post-trauma. It is hard to throw off the nightmares caused by that day. It is hard to trust others to talk to freely. It is hard to be around people who don't know whether to mention the shooting or pretend it didn't happen.

Years go by. A love affair begins. A love affair ends. But a baby is born. She means the world to her adoptive parents. She means the world to the mother who decided to give her away. More years pass, and there are highs and lows, doubts, recriminations, what if's. Crook takes us into the heart of not only the three main characters but of the ancillary characters as well. Secrets beget distrust. Wyatt, Jack, and Shelly find that keeping mum about their lives does not work very well when the new generation begins asking questions.

Elizabeth Crook makes every incident and every moment fraught with emotion. The characters do enjoy happy times, but they carry a burden of survivor's guilt and a burden of their own decisions about their lives.

MONDAY, MONDAY is a page-turner with an inciting incident drenched in blood and pain. The books tells truths of the human condition without putting rose-colored glasses on the reader's perceptions. A deeply felt and amazing read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By asiana VINE VOICE on May 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With all of the mass shootings which have occurred within the last few years, many do not remember the massacre which took place in August, 1961 when Charles Whitman, a former Marine, stood at the top of the University of Texas Tower and started to shoot at those below. When he finished, there were 16 people dead and 32 wounded.

This fictional account of the tragedy follows the lives of three of the victims: Shelly, an average girl who was shot while going to a drugstore and two cousins, Jack and Wyatt, who rushed to save her, Jack being seriously injured. Their emotional and physical lives are forever linked over a 40 year span including happiness, tragedy and secrets. The book has an incredible amount of detail and the research makes Texas "come alive." I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ms Winston VINE VOICE on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
MINOR SPOILER I think "Monday Monday" has a great deal to offer readers -- even the ones who are not old enough to remember the day that Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the Tower at the University of Texas at Austin and shot 17 people to death. As the front piece in the ARC I read remind us, it was the first mass shooting at a campus in our history. Now, unfortunately, school shootings all the way down to the elementary school level have become more and more common, but they still have the power to shock and horrify us.

In her novel about the shooting and its aftermath, author Elizabeth Crook follows the lives of three students who survive and whose lives are forever complicated over a 40 year period. Shelly, Wyatt, and Jack (the latter two being cousins) go though many life-altering events, including an unwanted pregnancy that estranges Shelly from her parents and complicates the relationship with the two cousins. The dialog is well written and realistic, as are descriptive passages, particularly the shooting itself.

The voices of the characters can be heard clearly and they are true individuals, and not just place holders in the story. At the end, without giving the resolution of the threads of the story away, Shelly goes back to the University and spends time musing about the day that everything changed for her, Wyatt, Jack, the 17 dead and the 32 wounded, and Whitman himself. Taken with the rest of the story, it is a resolution of sorts where Shelly makes a type of peace with her past. Very touching, and it reminds us that years later these types of acts still resonate with the survivors.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On August 1, 1966, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, Charles Whitman, a disenfranchised student, has taken a footlocker of weapons up to the top of the main tower. He starts shooting anything and everything in sight. Seventeen students are killed and thirty-two injured before Whitman himself is killed. MONDAY, MONDAY is an account of that dreadful day through the eyes of three fictional students, Shelly, Wyatt, and Jack.

All three of these young people are in class or leaving class when the shooting begins. Shelly, leaving a math class, is among the injured, and Wyatt, after phoning his wife to tell her to stay at the Sears where she works, attempts to come to Shelly’s aid. All three survive, though they bear physical and emotional scars.

Months, then about forty years pass. There is an illicit love affair and much more. Many of these incidents might be expected after such a long time, but I never grew bored with this book. I wanted to keep reading to see what would become of these people as they grew older and tried to look past this incident.

I also give kudos to Crook’s knowledge of Texas, particularly Austin. She definitely knows Austin very well, and even points out, through the story, the changes that take place over the years on the UT campus and in Austin itself.

But it isn’t just the immediate Austin area that Crook handles well. Our protagonists are from towns near Austin (Shelly is from Lockhart) and work in other towns in Texas during breaks from college and after college. They meet again in a dusty west Texas town. Crook paints a strong picture of each place she wants her characters to be.
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