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The Stud Book Paperback – Deckle Edge, December 31, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (December 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307955540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307955548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sarah, a behaviorist at the local zoo, turns her studies to the human population when infertility keeps her from reaching her life’s goal of becoming a mother. Dulcet, a single and fiercely independent nonconformist, introduces sex ed to high-school students when she isn’t otherwise focused on getting high. Georgie, a brand-new mom, struggles to meld the roles of professional, mother, and wife into a life that will be both pleasing and productive. Nyla, a self-proclaimed ecologist, strives to save the world and her teenage daughter at the same time. As these four friends come in and out of each other’s lives, negotiating their individual worlds of love, family, and work, Drake teases out the intersection between theories on parenthood, evolution, sex, and reproduction. The result is a relevant and original story about life and self-worth in an increasingly crowded world. Although the characters are whiny and self-absorbed at times, and their stories seem connected almost by afterthought, Drake’s sharp wit and contemporary take on ecology and adult life make this an entertaining and thought-provoking read. --Cortney Ophoff --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“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

More About the Author

Monica Drake is the author of Clown Girl, a novel. Her stories and essays have appeared in magazines such as the Sun, Beloit Fiction Review, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Northwest Review, and Nerve.com. She once wrote an entire issue of "The Stranger," a free weekly newspaper in Seattle, which flooded the city. She's now at work on a second novel.

Customer Reviews

The further I read the more I could not put down this book.
Rachel Orendurff Johnson
Novels switching between two viewpoints work well, but here, there's just too much making for confusion.
Neal Reynolds
The characters are funny and smart, and the writing and characters are very indepth.
Lauri Crumley Coates

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Liston on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
First of all, even though my introduction was a little scary, I really enjoyed this book. It was creative in an genuine way: it didn't try to be anything it wasn't for the sake of being unpredictable or to convince the reader of a certain message. This is a character-driven story that I can tell Ms. Drake told out of her own pure talent.

Why is this book hard to review? Because it was so brazen, honest, sarcastic, satirical, and any other synonym Webster has to offer about something that I hold very near and dear: motherhood. Each character is in a different place in respect to motherhood; Sarah desperately wants to be a mother despite her numerous miscarriages, Dulcet couldn't want anything less, and Nyla is busy raising her quickly growing-into-adulthood daughter, Arena, who herself is exploring her possibilities with the opposite sex for the first time.

The genius part of this book is that I know I fell right into the trap Drake set for me. She knew that this book would press buttons, and it DID! That's why this is so hard to review, because at so many times in this book I grimaced and cringed and these characters and their choices, that grimace being especially strong because I'm a mom myself. But I can't deny the sagacity in that, she knew what she was doing.

She does a wonderful job of setting the story and its characters, I've never been to Portland but truly felt like not only was I there but that I was a long-time resident annoyed by the sudden influx of hipsters in the past few years. I've never been a biology or science buff but Sarah's monologues about the primal instincts of the animals she monitors at the zoo had me captivated.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bella Prim on November 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Don't assume you know what The Stud Book is about just because you've read the dust jacket - It's not what you might expect, and don't assume you know who the target audience for this book is either because it's NOT a book strictly meant for "women of a certain age." Monica Drake has done what writers dream of doing - she's written a book that not only entertains and engages the reader but surprises them. In fact, I'd go as far as to say The Stud Book is the greatest surprise in literature I've had all year. Reminiscent of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, Drake does a masterful job of weaving the lives of her characters together with true wit, grit and laugh out-loud hilarity. The Stud Book delivers characters who are rich in depth and believability, and it touches on true human emotion in the kind of flawless way which allows all manner of reader - whether they be a 40 something housewife or an 30 something bachelor with no children - to relate and connect to the story. With exceptionally well written prose and a kind of dark humor, Monica Drake has written a book worthy of reading over and over again... More please!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ruby E. Campbell on February 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
It is rarely that I read a book twice! I read constantly and have a list of 50 or more 'must reads'. One night, when answering my partner's question of what to read next, I began revisiting different chapters of The Stud Book. Reading the sentences out loud made me laugh or cry or grovel or crawl around the bed before I hit the Portland nail on the head and admitted that I love this book.

Yes. I live in Portland. I love in Portland. I know every single one of the characters living in this book. They are perfectly detailed and I, despite rolling my eyes at one or two, love them all. They are us. They are walking down the street in front on my art gallery and they are walking in, conversing with me on a daily basis, their hearts shattering, opening, shriveling, and transparent.

Monica Drake has nailed it. She has written a book of who we are, why we are, what we think, how we believe, and who we trust with the everlasting core deal that we love. We love in all ways. We love extraordinarily.

And I love this book. It is real and it's damned well written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kate Chopin VINE VOICE on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Stud Book appealed to me because Monica Drake isn't shy about the darker side of life, especially pregnancy. She really understands the universality of parenthood and marriage, and while it can be ugly to read and easy to judge, it's refreshing to read about how hard it all can be. It's not all rainbows & unicorns, even in Portland. But Drake shows how complicated it's all gotten, with a sense of humor.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am sufficiently confident in my Male credibility that I could pick up Monica Drake's "The Stud Book" without shame. Admittedly, my quick-draw against its proudly Chick Lit cover is that the book is set in Portland, my home town. But I can safely say that Drake's novel is sufficiently funny, insightful and tragic that it stands on its own merits. Bunnies on the cover notwithstanding, this is a book a man can enjoy.

Not that there are any Don Draper alpha males to be found in these pages. "The Stud Book" follows four women, close friends who are in varying stages of parental angst. Sarah chronicles the mating habits and successes at Portland's zoo (in the titular stud book, no less) while agonizing over her own inability to sustain a pregnancy. Indeed, Sarah's husband Ben, far from being Don Draper, starts wearing makeup after breaking his nose in a hilarious trip to the bathroom (and keeps doing so after the bruises fade). Dulcet, a neo-Portlandia figure if there ever was one, preaches ownership of one's body to high school students while wearing an anatomically-correct latex suit. For Dulcet, children are barriers to self-actualization and partying. Georgie is an attractive new mom, but whose husband, Humble, spends his paternity leave playing drinking games at bars. And Nyla, a yoga-toned widow, is a stereotypically-environmental Portlander who is completely at a loss how to deal with her teenage daughter, Arena.

Drake imbues these characters with more depth than one might expect in such a short book (barely over 300 quick pages) thanks to her incisive writing. Dan Brown once said that he wrote 10 pages of "The Da Vinci Code" for every page that made it into the book.
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