Beth K, August 6, 2013 (view all comments by Beth K)
I was lucky enough to attend a reading of the first chapter of The Stud Book at Powell's, and I was hooked. This is an easy, fun read that also offers a satisfying intellectual challenge as it speaks about the complicated lives about my contemporaries, the mid-thirties to early forties crowd. Of course, the narrative offers a lot about motherhood, but you don’t have to be a mother (or a woman) to enjoy this book. Sure, the book is about babies and postpartum shittiness and the changing relationships of new parents, but it’s also about a group of interesting people trying to find their way through the middle of their lives, stuck in transition between nostalgic notions of their youths and anchoring themselves to something that looks like stability.
There were times when I laughed out loud and feared I might wake my household because I couldn’t stop laughing. And there were times my stomach turned for the suffering of these characters. When waiting for a friend to pick me up from my home for drinks, I was reading a particularly harrowing chapter. When he got to my house, I was shaken a little and needed to talk it out for a couple minutes before we left.
Also, Portland, OR shows up as a character! And that is fun. The city is well drawn. Drake skillfully captures the flavor of the city, poking fun of it in the most adoring way.
Buy this book. Read this book. You won’t regret it.
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Gypsygal, July 13, 2013 (view all comments by Gypsygal)
An engaging, thoughtful novel...genuine to the core. Monica Drake’s gritty, satirical take on motherhood takes place in Portland, Oregon, adeptly balancing the city’s own dark, absurd humor with sharp-edged truth-checks that jostle you back into reality each time you dare predict an outcome. Taking on contemporary parenthood is ambitious, and The Stud Book explores this complex topic with broad, questioning arms reaching into the realms of infertility, zoo animal husbandry, politics, commitment, found families and faith. The rich, layered characters tell their stories poignantly through shifting narratives, as we helplessly watch them push, meander, and trip their way forward through very real life challenges with sometimes sorrowful and dire consequences. The lingering message is a hopeful one, however, and when you’ve finished the book you’re left with a fresh, insightful snapshot of the human condition and an incredible appreciation for the wondrous mind of this talented author. As a mother living in Portland there was much that resonated with me, but Drake’s intelligent, humorous and honest story-telling voice holds a universal appeal and I highly recommend this novel to all.
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ikram, April 16, 2013 (view all comments by ikram)
A GREAT book. Made me laugh out loud and consider the reasons why people choose to have children. And just how crazy you have to be in order to make and want a baby. Examines the bonds that build a family whether the family is genetic or built from a caring band of friends. Life, death (and the great beyond), injury and perseverance are all wrapped into one book. My comment makes it sound serious. It's damn damn funny.
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by Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins and The Melting Season,
“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.”
by Chelsea Cain, author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series,
“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.”
by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things,
"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."
by Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Dora: A Headcase,
“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.”
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