MONSTERS by Liz Kay

MONSTERS

A Love Story
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A book of feminist poetry is optioned for a Hollywood movie.

This debut novel from poet Kay shows a lot of nerve, because almost nothing about its fictional premise seems believable or workable. A violent, pornographic novel in verse about gender construction (!) by an anorexic, alcoholic, recently widowed, tightly wound, snarky, stunningly beautiful mother of two from Omaha, Nebraska, comes to the attention of the sexiest man alive, an A-list movie star named Tommy DeMarco, whose lack of a high school degree hasn’t gotten in the way of his literary erudition. He options it, she flies to Turks and Caicos to discuss the script, and a book-length affair ensues. Perhaps the title of the novel—which comes from the title of the book of poetry and the movie based on it—indicates that the unlikability of the two leads is intentional. But it just doesn’t work. Stacey is a nasty, uptight, self-absorbed woman who thinks things like “Grief is terrible but it looks amazing on me.” The microreporting of her obnoxious thoughts about her food consumption—“I start my coffee and cut an apple into very thin slices to have for breakfast”; “He makes me eat eleven chips, which is ridiculous” —is surpassed only by the endless booze-a-logue. The characters drink to excess in almost every scene, to the point that it seems certain some terrible consequences are being foreshadowed. Nope. They just keep slugging it back. “God, Stacey, how’d we even end up like this,” Tommy asks at one point. “We drink too much, and we’re both a little slutty,” Stacey replies. If the whole book had the sense of humor conveyed in that exchange, it might have worked. But it’s not funny, and it goes on for far too long.

Cut 100 pages, make it either a satire or a romance, then publish it.

Pub Date: June 7th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-101-98247-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2016




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