5 November 2014

Review #56: Monday, Monday: A Novel by Elizabeth Cook

My rating:
4 of 5 stars

Thomas Eugene Robbins, an American author has quoted about killing as:

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.”

Elizabeth Crook, another American author has penned down her new novel, Monday, Monday based on shooting in University of Texas on 1st August, 1966, and it happen to be the first brutal shooting incident in America's history.

As per Wikipedia, Charles Joseph Whitman, an ex- US Marine, killed 16 people and wounded 32 others in a spree shooting in Austin, Texas on the University of Texas at Austin campus in and around the Tower on the afternoon of August 1, 1966.

Charles Whitman changed the lives of three ill-fated human beings who happen to be present and become the victim of Whitman's brutal decision to kill people randomly. Based on a real-life incident, Crook's novel, Monday, Monday sounded so very real to me. Crook has highlighted the aftermath of Whitman's shooting from the UT's tower.

Shelly, a twenty something student of UT (University of Texas) was one of the ill-fated victim of Whitman's killing spree, but Shelly, who's ambition was to join the Peace Corps gets gunned down by Whitman which leaves her brutally injured by the bullets and dying on the ground. But two brave heroes, named Wyatt and Jack, jumps into the raining bullets to save as many as people. Shelly happens to be one the victims to be rescued by Wyatt and Jack. But soon after this deadly ordeal, everyone goes back to their own lives but leaving Shelly, Wyatt and Jack's lives drastically changed, leading which to intertwine the three lives through blood and love. But for Shelly, it becomes very difficult to make peace with her traumatized past and let go of the painful memories.

Monday, Monday is a beautifully crafted tale on the back-drop of Charles Whitman's shooting in the campus of UT. The author has made us relive that dreadful incident so exquisitely and takes us back in that period so vividly. I loved the author's style of unfolding her characters centering the shooting incident. Shelly is one such character who you would love to hate- she's an epitome of a woman who knows the value of sacrifice amidst of so much pain and trauma. Shelly knows how to stand strong in the moment of her weakness, she proves to be a great mother and a loving wife, but she never learned to make peace with herself. Wyatt is a hero, married to Elaine, loves painting and despises his past that Whitman has changed it so beautifully for him. He became fortunate in the matters of his heart and unfortunate in his marriage to Elaine. Whitman took away one thing from Jack that will forbid him to travel the road to fatherhood. And these three unfortunate victim's lives get mingled with one another, the resultant is really sweet and forgiving, but that became too hard for Shelly and Wyatt. The characters are so unnerving and with their flaws make us see their true sides of their demeanor. The author's flow of narration makes the book more interesting and the story that she has spun out of the shooting incident is quite realistic and very compelling.

Verdict: Do read this journey of three individual human beings who were all victims of Whitman's shooting in UT both physically as well as emotionally!

Courtesy: I'd like to thank the author, Elizabeth Crook, for giving me this opportunity to read her incredible novel.

Author Info:
Elizabeth Crook was born in Houston in 1959. She lived in Nacogdoches and then San Marcos, Texas with her parents and brother and sister until 1966 when the family moved to Washington D.C., where her father was director of VISTA for Lyndon Johnson. Two years later her father was appointed Ambassador to Australia and the family moved to Canberra. When they returned to Texas Elizabeth attended public schools in San Marcos, graduating from San Marcos High School in 1977. She attended Baylor University for two years and graduated from Rice University in 1982. She has written four novels: The Raven's Bride and Promised Lands were published by Doubleday and then reissued by SMU Press as part of the Southwest Life and Letters series. The Night Journal was published by Viking/Penguin in 2006 and reissued in paperback by Penguin. Monday, Monday will be published by Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux in May of 2014. Elizabeth has written for periodicals such as Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. She is a member of Western Writers of America and The Texas Philosophical Society, and was selected the honored writer for 2006 Texas Writers' Month. Her first novel, The Raven's Bride, was the 2006 Texas Reads: One Book One Texas selection. The Night Journal was awarded the 2007 Spur award for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction. Elizabeth currently lives in Austin with her husband and two children.
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  1. Aditi, thank you for the kind words and for your insight. This is such a thoughtful review. Warmest regards to you,
    Elizabeth Crook

    1. My pleasure and thank you so much! :-)


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