Author: Elizabeth Crook
It is August, 1966, an outrageously hot Monday at the University of Texas. Shelly cannot breathe in the airless classroom, her stomach is cramping, the professor speaks through bubbles, and she gazes out the window of the South Mall. The professor dismisses the class and as Shelly walks through the doors she hears “Monday, Monday playing on someone’s radio. And this day will permeate her lives and the lives of two other students, both cousins, for the rest of her life.
As she looks up at the campus tower, she hears pops, and falls to the ground. Two students, cousins, Jack and Wyatt see what is happening from inside the building and run to help pull the wounded to safety. Wyatt and Jack drag her from under the bushes and save her life. The rifleman, a student and ex-military, is shot by police after killing 16 people and wounding 32 others. But this story is not about the first killing on a college campus by a student; it is about the three survivors, how their lives intertwine, skew, and warp around the event and themselves and how they transcend an event that pushes their lives over a cliff. Crook plants her talent solidly in the midst of Shelly, Jack and Wyatt, and rewinds time to 1966, beautifully distending the belly of the tragedy, while recreating the nuances of emotion of three fragile people, all within the perfect timbre of a stunning novel. Pitch perfect and emotionally tangled, Shelly, Wyatt and Jack touch us magically with their humanity. This kind of writing is hard to find and hard won.
Surviving the killing gun of Charles Whitman, the gunman, Shelly and Wyatt succumb to their helplessness and fall in love. Shelly’s breast and arm are damaged in the incident, but Wyatt finds her beautiful. But Wyatt is married to Elaine and they have a baby, Nate. And yet, they cannot keep away from each other. He paints Shelly and hides the portrait. And Wyatt falls deeply in love with Shelly and she feels the same. Wyatt dismisses Elaine and the baby, and makes love to Shelly. And then Shelly is pregnant with Wyatt’s child. When Shelly tells Wyatt, she also tells him that he has to leave her life – she will not let him leave his wife and child.
As the story weaves the lives of Wyatt, Jack and Shelly into a fabric that illuminates and shimmers, Monday Monday leaves us breathless with surprise, breathless with the impact of the lives of three people and their destinies that hang in the balance on one tragic moment, and within one brilliant and perfect novel.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
Monday, Monday: A Novel is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwid