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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Monsters of Templeton Hardcover – February 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401322255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401322250
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, February 2008: On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town's lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler’s Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, "reproduced" in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff's endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of "monsters," both in our towns and our families. --Mari Malcolm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of Groff's lyrical debut, 28-year-old Wilhelmina Willie Upton returns to her picturesque hometown of Templeton, N.Y., after a disastrous affair with her graduate school professor during an archeological dig in Alaska. In Templeton, Willie's shocked to find that her once-bohemian mother, Vi, has found religion. Vi also reveals to Willie that her father wasn't a nameless hippie from Vi's commune days, but a man living in Templeton. With only the scantiest of clues from Vi, Willie is determined to untangle the roots of the town's greatest families and discover her father's identity. Brilliantly incorporating accounts from generations of Templetonians—as well as characters borrowed from the works of James Fenimore Cooper, who named an upstate New York town Templeton in The Pioneers—Groff paints a rich picture of Willie's current predicaments and those of her ancestors. Readers will delight in Willie's sharp wit and Groff's creation of an entire world, complete with a lake monster and illegitimate children.
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More About the Author

Lauren Groff was born in 1978 in Cooperstown, N.Y. She graduated from Amherst College and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her short stories have appeared in a number of journals, including the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, One Story, and Subtropics, and in the anthologies Best American Short Stories 2007 and Best American Short Stories 2010, Pushcart Prize XXXII, and Best New American Voices 2008. A story will be included in the 2012 edition of PEN/ O. Henry Prize Stories. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, and has had residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and Ragdale.

Lauren's first novel, The Monsters of Templeton, published in February 2008, was a New York Times and Booksense bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. Her second book, Delicate Edible Birds, is a collection of stories. Her second novel, Arcadia, will be out in March 2012.

She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons. Her website is www.laurengroff.com

Customer Reviews

The characters are all well developed and interesting.
S. Moreau
This is especially bothersome since the ending seems just a bit too perfect for my liking.
Tiffany
It kept me reading and I couldn't put it down until I got to the end.
dust2dust34

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Monsters of Templeton is written by a woman who grew up in Cooperstown, NY, in which this novel is set. Willie Upton, descendant of the fictional counterpart of James Fenimore Cooper, comes flying home at the age of 28, rebounding from a disastrous affair with her doctoral advisor in the fear that she is pregnant. She has also tried to murder the wife of her paramour. Once she arrives home in NY, Willie embarks on a series of genealogical quests.
There is a real monster in Templeton, who dies the day Willie arrives at her mother's house. But the danger in reading The Monsters of Templeton lies in interpreting things too literally. At heart, this is a coming of age story involving a heroine a bit older than most in the coming of age genre. Willie has had an unorthodox upbringing in a town that, immediately below its surface, is as unorthodox as they come. Its founding, its founder, its history, its long-term inhabitants, and its current persona are all unusual, to say the least. Some have characterized Willie as immature. I view her as a young woman caught between two worlds, two times, who is trying to find her self and her destiny, both within her family history and outside of it. And, by returning to her formerly despised hometown, and by allowing Templeton to be itself, and by utilizing her own formidable education to delve into her own ancestry regardless of what it might reveal, Willie does manage to set herself on the right path. She comes to terms with her past, her present, and, as much as possible, with her future. If that isn't magical, I don't know what is. Congratulations to author Groff for producing a strong piece of literature her first time out.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I think I was originally expecting something different from a book called, 'The Monsters of Templeton" that was hugely endorsed by the maestro of literary horror Stephen King. And yes in the book's opening passage an enormous sea creature washes up lakeside, and there's some pulsing ghost like entity that lives in the childhood home of our returning protagonist. However, beyond that this is simply a book about a woman discovering the secret of her lineage through the letters and correspondence of her multitude of ancestors, some of whom are monstrous indeed. Three quarters of the way through I found myself caring less about if Willie would figure out the mystery of who her father was, and instead was more smitten with Groff's romance with the town of Templeton which is directly copied from Upstate New York's Coopertown, where the author grew up. It's all small town USA, Stars Hollowesque with a Greek Chorus of joggers who pass the year with their own few chapters to mark their individual lives throughout the seasons. I don't know if one could call the book completely successful if I'm not caring about the main plot of the story, yet at the same time, I did find myself looking Cooperstown up on the internet, and checking out the various Bed and Breakfasts in the area and wondering about a trip.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As explained at the beginning of this book, Templeton is actually Cooperstown. You know, the place with the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Or rather, it's a "slantwise" version of Cooperstown, with lake monsters, friendly ghosts, and a tangle of ancient family secrets. Lauren Groff's "The Monsters of Templeton" is a cleverly interwoven mystery of old secrets, poetic writing and forgotten scandals, but her heroine is the book's Achilles heel.

Willie Upton is returning to her mother's shabby mansion, pregnant and disgraced after trying to run over her married lover's wife. On the same morning, a gigantic monster is found floating in the nearby lake.

Unsurprisingly, Willie is far more interested in her own problems, especially when her hippie-turned-Baptist mother reveals that Willie was not conceived in a free-love orgy, but with a man she knows right in Templeton. To distract herself from her woes, Willie decides to take a single clue and explore back through her family's history, hoping to find the man who fathered her.

Turns out the Temple family tree has a lot of memorable people -- a savvy slave girl, an ethereal Schizophrenic, a pyromaniac, at least one murderer, a popular novelist, a gentle giant. And as Willie backtracks through her family tree, she finds that the secret of her father's ancestry is intertwined in family scandals long forgotten...

It sounds like a fairly ordinary "family saga" novel, doesn't it? But Groff does infuse something special into the story, including touches of magical realism (an immortal town weirdo, a long-lived lake monster, and a lilac ghost) and a series of family accounts that intertwine over time. Which ones are true, and which are self-serving lies? Well, that's up to the reader.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By S. Griffin on February 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wow, how do I describe this book? The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff, is a fiction/fantasy/mystery/ghost story unlike anything I've read in quite a long time, and it is close to being brilliant.
Set in the fictional town of Templeton, NY (fashioned after Cooperstown), Willie Upton has come home to deal with being pregnant by a professor at Stanford, where she was attending college. Believing herself to be the product of her mother's counter-culture ways in 1970's San Francisco, she is stunned to find out that her father might actually live in Templeton. This is the story of Willie's search for her father, and her wacky genealogical discoveries along the way. Groff even includes "photos" of Willie's ancestors!
Some of the other subjects in this book are Alaska, Archaeology, Arson, Baseball, Clergy, Community Life, Dreams, Friendship, Ghosts, Lakes, Libraries, Murder, Museums, Native Americans, Orphans, Prostitutes, Reading, Runners, Sea Monsters, Summer, Swimming, Toys, Trees, Virtues, Wealth, Widows/Widowers, and Writers. Isn't that enough to make you read it?
I didn't find any deep meaning to this story, but it was a joy to go along for the ride, with all of its crazy twists and turns.
I liked not being able to predict the ending. The Monsters of Templeton is a really entertaining book!
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