Customer Review

184 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destiny, Fate, and Self-Knowledge, March 1, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Monster at the End of This Book (Jellybean Books(R)) (Hardcover)
_The Monster At The End Of This Book_ (henceforth "TMATEOTB") is a fascinating treatise on several of the philosophical problems lurking at the core of modern and classical thought. The premise -- that, with the turn of each page, the reader brings self-described "lovable, furry Grover" closer to danger at the hands of the title monster -- allows one to question the very nature of free will and destiny. Is Grover doomed to encounter the monster? The conceit that it is the act of turning pages -- the literal act of reading itself -- that causes the ending to come about inevitably leads to the question: Would the book end differently if one _didn't_ finish reading it? On another level, TMATEOTB addresses one of the paradoxes of contemporary physics: The equality of space and time. The "end of the book" is an event in the future, but the monster is not spoken of as "arriving", but as _already being there_. Thus, turning pages moves the reader and Grover not only forward in time, as in most traditional literature, but also forward in space, leading to the perilous End of the Book. Lastly, TMATEOTB is about how we are ultimately at the whim of the cosmic forces that shape our lives. The hapless protagonist tries again and again to stop the reader from turning pages by erecting brick walls and nailing one page to the other. His efforts are futile, but he remains unaware of his essential helplessness in the face of a Reader. Perhaps, the book says, we are ultimately doomed to fail, trapped within the pages of cosmic irony, but unable to prevent or even perceive the inevitability of our encounter with the monster. The shocking twist ending wraps up the disparate threads of the text, presenting issues of self-knowledge, the nature of fear, and the question of what it truly means to be a monster. Perhaps the failure of our quests for safety in an uncertain world isn't so bad, it argues, if it leads to a confrontation like the one depicted in _The Monster At The End Of This Book_.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2010 7:30:13 AM PDT
I would argue that Grover is very aware of his helplessness. His efforts to convince the reader to stop turning pages is analagous to prayer. Grover's prayers go unanswered, and the pages keep being turned.

Excellent review. You should write a thesis on this book.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 7:36:27 AM PST
Rich Stoehr says:
Simply brilliant. You make the case for horror literature, even when written for the young, can be artistic and meaningful. Thank you!

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 3:08:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 22, 2011 3:09:02 AM PST
Truth Seeker says:
One of the best reviews I have seen on this site. Simply excellent. I would only argue that, perhaps the meaning is not about "the whim of the cosmic forces that shape our lives" in the sense that we are helpless, but rather that self-awareness and self-acceptance can do away with fear, which is mostly of our own creation. When Grover realizes the "monster" was he all along, he is telling us there never was any monster; only his own false perception of one. To put it in other words, if you but go forward, or "feel the fear and do it anyway," you too will be "embarrassed" at how you worked yourself up over nothing.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 6:03:01 AM PDT
This review just blew my mind. Love it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2012 6:36:54 PM PDT

P.S. I have a master's degree in folklore and mythology.

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 10:21:32 PM PDT
kb1021 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 8:52:29 PM PDT
Chris M says:
Chill out, it was a joke, cant you see that??

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 7:23:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 7:25:44 PM PST
It is also worth noting the antagonism the reader directs towards Grover: in reading the text, we enact our desire to see him -- to force him to -- encounter something he does not wish to encounter. This reveals another insight/question at the heart of TMATEOTB, this time into the nature of reading stories: is there not something to this antagonism towards Grover, pushing him towards what he fears -- so gleeful for the reader in TMATEOTB -- that is present in all reader-character relationships? Do we not wish to see whatever will befall literary characters to happen to them -- for good or for ill -- simply because it gives us pleasure to witness these things come to pass? And is that not heartless of us? And was TMATEOTB secretly written by Vladimir Nabokov?

Posted on Feb 23, 2013 2:50:22 PM PST
G. Parks says:
You, Sirrah, are a genuine, authentic, bona-fide, certifiable, looney-bin NUTCASE...

...BUT, I absolutely ADORED your review anyway, just for its pure idiocy! LOL!!!

Posted on Jun 24, 2013 12:49:28 PM PDT
LOL. Thanks for the great review. Enjoyed it a lot (though not as much as I enjoyed reading TMATEOTB)
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