The Stud Book
by Monica Drake
336 pages / $25.00 buy from Amazon
1. Monica Drake has written a compelling novel of manners.
2. The Stud Book follows a group of adult friends in Portland, Oregon (aka everyone living in America today) as they reconcile expectations with reality.
3. There is a zookeeper, a mortgage underwriter, a photographer, a yogi, and a computer repairman. Unsurprisingly, hilarity ensues.
4. Drake diffuses the novel’s many anticlimaxes (mishaps, muddled careers, domestic failings, generally unrealized ambitions) with a singular sense of humor.
5. The Stud Book is a book about motherhood. And the baby jokes crackle. A woman mistakenly licks a bit of dirty diaper from her shirt (not mustard!); another knocks an Oxycodone into an infant’s mouth. Drake exploits babies like the vulnerable little props they are.
6. Drug humor abounds as the friends imbibe in the manner of well-established stoner citizens. Justifying a “Volcano” vaporizer at a high school assembly one says, “I’ve got a chronic pain problem. This is totally legal.” Another drives high, she “ignoring the dosing instructions… nibbled pills all day long.” “She’d started to see the benefit: a military dose of Klonopin with red wine, dished out like a free lunch, would end the troubles in the Gaza Strip.” “Her car was speckled with pink, pale yellow, and white pill crumbs, Klonopin, diazepam, Vicodin.”
7. But beyond bad behavior, Drake finds a gentle humor in frailty.
8. On justifying the purchase of a derelict storefront, “Crack addicts curled in the recessed doorway and cans of OE8 littered the curb, but there was a Starbucks practically next door. Starbucks with their market research was an indicator the neighborhood was poised for an upswing.”
9. On Mrs. Cherryholmes, the beautiful but villainous school principal, “Her lipstick was frosted, too, in a sheen of confidence. That was probably the actual lipstick color: Administrative Confidence.”
10. One particularly funny and gruesome scene of self-love is a shoo-in for the annual bad sex in writing award, “He spit on his hand, cupped it and rubbed his damp palm over the head of the cock.” READ MORE >
May 14th, 2013 / 5:35 pm