Author: Adrienne Brodeur
Published by: Avid Reader Press on Jun. 27, 2023
Genres: General Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 8/10
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.
Dramatic, simmering, and sincere!
Little Monsters is a tender, engaging tale that sweeps you away to the idyllic Cape Cod during 2016 and into the lives of the Gardner family, especially siblings Ken and Abby, as the preparations for their father’s upcoming seventieth birthday party will have them finally confronting all the jealousy, resentment, pain, scars, long-buried secrets, and despicable behaviours that have tied them together since childhood.
The prose is fluid and smooth. The characters are bitter, troubled, and flawed. And the plot is a captivating tale about life, loss, heartache, guilt, love, secrets, revelations, acceptance, familial drama, friendship, hope, mental illness, forgiveness, and introspection.
Overall, Little Monsters is a heartfelt, intricate, nuanced tale by Brodeur that reminds us that families are complicated and messy, the choices we make often have far-reaching consequences, and skeletons often find their way to the surface no matter how well they’re buried.
This novel is available June 27, 2023.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.