The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (Voice, 2008). The most important thing about this book is that it's given me a new drinking game called Cowboy Faces. The rules? "Take a shot and pretend it didn't hurt. Make your face as stoic as possible." Simple. Comedic. Brilliant.
I don't have much to say about this book. I enjoyed it, despite the fact that for some reason it took me months to finish. Groff is adept with dialogue and does an amazing job of creating this fictional small town rich in history. Our heroine, Willie Upton, is often hard to like but has more than her fair share of wit and charm and smarts so she's forgiven. Much in the same way we forgive her mother, Vi, and the random cast of characters in their lives.
Except one guy...fuck him. But I'll leave you to figure out who.
The one challenge I had with the read is the breaks in the primary story to delve into the sordid history of Willie's family. It isn't always a problem but in the early chapters, I'm still getting to know and care about the present day people of Templeton. I wasn't ready to dig into those old letters and secrets until about halfway through the story.
Once I was ready, though, the sordid parts of Willie's family tree were fascinating and enthralling and Groff's sure voice and enjoyable writing style never waiver.