Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Monday, Monday" by Elizabeth Crook

How would you react to being involved in a mass shooting? Would there be someone to help you? In this new book by Elizabeth Crook, she examines the lives of three students in just that situation. 

What started out as a normal Monday at the University of Texas turned into a terror filled day as a man shot innocent bystanders from the tower. Lives were changed immediately, some with a finality that was stunning. In the end, sixtteen were dead and thirty two were wounded. Wyatt, Jack, and Shelly were just three people who had to make sense of their lives after the shooting. Would their lives turn out well, or would the crippling effects of the massacre cause them to make bad choices? Would any of them get the help they needed to move on with their lives? 

This story is well written and, at points, tough to read. Ms. Crook approaches her topic and characters with care and concern. Everything is important, and everything will make you feel something for the character or situation. If you like books that seem to come from the headlines, this book is for you. It is filled with moments that will make you think. I received my review copy from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review.

MondayMonday: A Novel
By Elizabeth Crook
Published by Sarah Crichton Books
Hardcover: 352 pages
April 29, 2014; $26.00 US/$30.00 CAN; 9781621451457
In this gripping, emotionally charged novel, a tragedy in Texas changes the course of three lives
On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Before it was over, sixteen people had been killed and thirty-two wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.
MondayMonday follows three students caught up in the massacre: Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets, and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will eventually entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy that will span forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they will be forced to confront the event that changed their lives and that has silently and persistently ruled the lives of their children.
With electrifying storytelling and the powerful sense of destiny found in Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, and with the epic sweep of Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, Elizabeth Crook's MondayMonday explores the ways in which we sustain ourselves and one another when the unthinkable happens. At its core, it is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, with the people she loves, and with a history that will not let her go. A humane treatment of a national tragedy, it marks a generous and thrilling new direction for a gifted American writer.
Author Bio
Elizabeth Crook, 
author of MondayMonday: A Novel, is the author of three novels, The Raven's Bride, Promised Lands, and The Night Journal. She has written for anthologies and periodicals, including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. Currently she is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Book Festival. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children.
For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook
"This rapturous novel starts with one of the most heinous shootings in history, yet every page shines with life. Crook follows three students who endured the tragedy as they grapple with the past, struggle to navigate their futures, and discover that who and what saves us is nothing like what you imagine. Brilliantly realized and so vivid the novel seems to virtually breathe, MondayMonday is a stunning achievement."
-- Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
"Elizabeth Crook has written an extraordinary novel -- an eloquent love story born from an act of random violence, a tale of destruction and redemption. It's about making a whole life out of a damaged one, and about holding on and letting go. The characters are as real as people you know; their story is subtle, startling, and wise."
-- Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club and Above the East China Sea
"MondayMonday begins by throwing us into the midst of one of the worst mass murders in American history, a scene painted with such harrowing exactitude that it leaves you wondering how the characters can possibly survive and how the author can possibly sustain such a high level of narrative momentum and emotional insight. And yet Elizabeth Crook pulls it off. This is a brilliant and beautiful book."
-- Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton

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