Monday Monday: A Novel. Elizabeth Crook. Farrar Straus and Giroux. April 2014. 352 pp. ISBN#: 9780374228828.
Monday, Monday was a famous song by the Mammas and the Pappas I 1966. That’s the song Shelly hears over and over and over again from the day in August of that year when she was shot by the sniper Charles Whitman. Sixteen other people died and double that were wounded. A fellow student, Wyatt, holds her body tight to keep her from being shot again. This was the first of many more shootings to happen in America after that fateful day. But few bother to consider the multiple ramifications that haunt the surviving victims for years and years! This is their story, a haunting account of the inner wounds and consequences of acts after that day!
Shelly carries the physical wounds of an arm full of metal and a breast partially torn away. Jack, another student, carries an even sadder wound. Shelly and Wyatt are drawn to each other as only survivors are but Wyatt is married; Shelly has their child but gives up Carlotta to Jack and his wife. Shelly, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s point of view, is allowed to see Carlotta who has no idea the occasional visitor is her biological mother. Shelly is determined to move on in life and let go of her mental and emotional scars, but the best laid plans are oh so frequently skewed because the past will not disappear from her heart and mind!
Shelly marries Dan, a once upon a time student, who saw things no one should see during that massacre. He’s a good man, even forgiving Shelly for the secrets she has kept from him. They have a daughter who becomes friendly with Carlotta, neither knowing their deeper connection. Much more occurs but the reader must and will be flipping the pages to find out what happens next, what one must remember to safeguard all. Suffice to say we have a love story, and many scenes of discovery and healing.
“Monday, Monday you gave me no warning of what was to be,
Oh Monday, Monday how could you leave and not take me…
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin’ all of the time.” Written and sung by The Mammas and the Papas.
Sometimes you’ll cry from sorrow, sometimes from joy; but one thing is sure, you’ll never forget this story. When all the politicians and pundits are done debating and sermonizing on the issue of gun control, each should stop and read this novel before going back to their limited and idealistic debates. Frankly, honestly and creatively crafted, Elizabeth Crook has given readers a book that this reviewer highly recommends!