Templeton is the quintessential small town – everyone knows everyone else - except for the tourists - and it does draw a fair number of those to its baseball museum and other sites.
Wilhelmina Sunshine Upton escapes to the hometown she’d thought she left behind for good when an already doomed relationship with her PhD advisor goes sour and she finds herself pregnant and running from a potential attempted murder indictment for trying to run over the professor’s wife with a biplane. Willie gets an earful from her mother, Vi, who seems more sympathetic to Willie’s best friend’s problems than her own daughter’s. As it happens the day Willie returns to Templeton a large ‘monster’ is discovered floating belly-up in the town’s lake. The locals, enthralled, also feel a bit sorry for the monster, who obviously has lived for many centuries unbothered, but also giving truth to the many rumours that have circulated about its existence. Willie also feels the monster’s demise is on an equivalent plane to her own, as she takes her mother’s advice about forgetting the past and focusing on a project - finding out who her father is. Vi will not tell her – having not even informed the oblivious other parent about his daughter’s existence. All Willie knows for certain is that she knows him and he knows her – just not that they’re related.
I had really high hopes for this book but somehow it didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m not sure exactly why. Parts of the book were quite good and I wanted to know what would happen, but other parts were just so-so. It wasn’t the writing that bothered me and I found the premise of the story very interesting. Maybe that had something to do with it. It’s like seeing a trailer to a movie and you find out afterward that you’ve seen all the best parts. I already guessed half way through the book who Willie’s father is. Also the allegory for the monster’s existence wasn’t plain and for me it should have been. As a matter of fact the existence of the monster in the story fell flat for me.
Despite my feelings for the book I would give another novel by this author a chance, but I would wait for the library copy instead of rushing out to buy one.