REVIEW: Monsters: A Love Story by Liz Kay
SYNOPSIS: Stacey Lane feels like a monster. Tommy DeMarco might be one.
Since her husband died eight months ago, Stacey’s been a certified mess—a poet who can’t write anymore, a good mother who feels like she’s failing her kids. She’s been trying to redefine herself, to find new boundaries.
Tommy has no respect for boundaries. A surprisingly well-read A-list Hollywood star, Tommy’s fallen in love with Stacey’s novel-in-verse, a feminist reimagining of Frankenstein, no less. His passion for the book, and eventually its author, will set their lives on a collision course. They’ll make a movie, make each other crazy, and make love—but only in secret.
As Stacey travels between her humdrum life in the suburbs of Omaha and the glamorous but fleeting escape Tommy offers, what begins as a distracting affair starts to pick up weight. It’s a weight that unbalances Stacey’s already unsteady life, but offers new depth to Tommy’s. About desire, love, grief, parenthood, sexual politics, and gender, Monsters: A Love Story is a witty portrait of a relationship gone off the rails, and two people who are made for each other—even if they’re not so sure they see it that way.
GENRE: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
RATING: ★★★★★ / All the dysfunctional stars!!!
REVIEW: This book is my new best friend test. No, seriously. I want to administer this book to all potential new friends because if you can understand why I absolutely love Monsters: A Love Story then clearly are hearts and souls are on the same wavelength and we were meant to be best friends!
Okay, where to begin and what to say? ... You haven't made this easy Liz Kay, because I want to tell everyone every last thing that I love about your book but I pride myself on giving the best spoiler free reviews I can (throws hands in the air in exasperation). ... So I'll start with the writing. Loved it. Every word. This book takes place over the span of years. Each chapter is a new month moving forward, leaving chunks of time unexplored because they didn't need to be explored. Because that's how we actually live life most of the time. We have exciting moments and stories to tell but the time in between isn't always noteworthy. This style of writing kept the character progression, not just moving, but increasingly believable, allowing Stacey and Tommy room to move and grow.
Speaking of our main characters, Stacey and Tommy, man oh man are they flawed individuals. And I hung on every moment of their messed up relationships, not just with each other, but with all the secondary characters too. I mean, I don't think I am like either character in any way and yet I found myself relating to one or the other throughout the entire book. There is this inherent vulnerability in both of them that drives them to protect their hearts to the detriment of all else. While it would be easy to slap labels on them, dislike them and move on, I found myself breaking through Stacey's denial or Tommy's bravado, to look deeper and really connect with the characters. Plus all the dysfunction was just darn good fun!
The story has all the angst and emotion of a New Adult genre romance but with better dialogue and without the forced affectation of jadedness, because these characters are actually old enough to have experienced life in such a way that being world-weary isn't just a cliche. That being said, it's not all downhill...you'll just have to read it and find out.
If you haven't deduced it by now, I highly recommend Monsters: A Love Story. And if you end up loving it just as much as I do, shoot me an email, we might be destined to be best friends!