I’m not ready to say farewell to summer! (Although it is starting to feel a tiny bit like Fall here in south Florida) 😏 A book that had been on my summer TBR is the dramatic yet poignant LITTLE MONSTERS by the brilliant Adrienne Brodeur. I had loved her memoir Wild Game and her latest is her first work of fiction. I couldn’t put it down!
The glittering Gardner family might look like they have it all from the outside. The patriarch Adam is a brilliant marine biologist who is also bipolar. The book takes place in the summer of 2016 leading up to Adam’s 70th birthday.
Siblings Abby and Ken were once inseparable but have grown distant as adults. Abby is an artist and very different from her brother Ken, who has grand political aspirations. The arrival of another person into their fragile family ecosystem adds to the dramatic tension in this splendid story.
The author knows Cape Cod intimately and it provides a very rich backdrop for the book. All of the characters are flawed yet I cared deeply about each one of them.
As the lovely Cape Cod summer comes to a close, the tension builds as Adam’s 70th birthday celebration approaches, and the characters’ insecurities, jealousies and secrets are revealed. I thought Adam’s mental health was handled sensitively and with great insight. As well the author describes the political climate leading up to the 2016 election in a balanced way.
I also absolutely love the cover of this book and it really evokes the beach-y atmosphere of the story. Highly recommend this very engaging novel.
(𝘔𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬. 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘰𝘸𝘯.)
About the Book:
From the author of the bestselling memoir Wild Game comes a riveting novel about Cape Cod, complicated families, and long-buried secrets—for fans of the New York Times bestsellers The Paper Palace and Ask Again, Yes.
Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.
As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.
Set in the fraught summer of 2016, and drawing on the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Little Monsters is an absorbing, sharply observed family story by a writer who knows Cape Cod inside and out—its Edenic lushness and its snakes.