Little Monsters

“Little Monsters” by Adrienne Brodeur is a terrific novel, set in Cape Cod (especially Provincetown), and full of dysfunctional family dynamics. It is a contemporary story about a complicated family, with chapters told in alternating points of view. (At first, the different narrators are confusing, but they come together really fast, so don’t quit reading without giving this one a chance.)
Adam Gardner is a brilliant oceanographer who has made a career of studying whales. He has two children, Ken and Abby, who are both successful in their own careers. Ken is a wealthy businessman with eyes on a political future. Abby is a talented artist. Adam raised Ken and Abby without their mother, because she died immediately after Abby was born. Adam has always dealt with bipolar disorder, and has managed it well at times, but has had manic cycles at other times. His children are a product of that environment. All three main characters are deeply flawed and their past is threatening to upend their lives as Adam’s 70th birthday approaches.
I was fascinated by the beautiful story of this troubled family. The Cape Cod setting is described so vividly and the secondary characters are well-developed and add so much to the story as well. The Gardners are all dealing with family trauma and I was caught up in their story, their heartbreak and their hopes for the future. There is much to think about in this novel – would be GREAT for a book club!

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