MONKEY TOWN by Ronald Kidd
Kirkus Star


The Summer of the Scopes Trial
Age Range: 11 - 13
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Drawing incidents, dialogue and all but a few minor members of the cast from the historical record, Kidd views the Scopes trial through the eyes of a teenaged local—weaving in a thoughtful coming-of-age tale in the process. Nursing both a strong crush on handsome teacher/coach “Johnny” Scopes and a conviction that the sun rises and sets on her businessman father, Frances rides an emotional roller coaster as the trial—engineered by her father and some cronies as a publicity stunt, with the reluctant cooperation of Scopes—quickly turns into a circus, with undertones of hostility and violence coming to the fore. Frances meets all the major players—hard-bitten journalist H.L. Mencken, for instance, coming across as particularly complex and memorable—and gradually comes to realize that the world is not as simple as she had always thought: “There are lots of people out there,” she tells her father. “They don’t believe the same things we do.” Readers who found Jen Bryant’s novel-in-poems The Trial (2004) (which is built around another notorious American trial but shares many of the same themes and plot points) superficial will be pleased by the depth of character and ideas here. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0572-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2005


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