Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon July 1, 2013 - 11:47am

'The Stud Book' by Monica Drake

Discussion has officially started!

Synopsis: In the hip haven of Portland, Oregon, a pack of unsteady but loyal friends asks what it means to bring babies into an already crowded world.
Sarah studies animal behavior at the zoo. She’s well versed in the mating habits of captive animals, and at the same time she’s desperate to mate, to create sweet little offspring of her own. Georgie is busy with a newborn, while her husband, Humble, finds solace in bourbon and televised violence. Dulcet makes a living stripping down in high school gyms to sell the beauty of sex-ed. Nyla is out to save the world while having trouble saving her own teen daughter, who has discovered the world of drugs and the occult. As these friends and others navigate a space between freedom and intimacy, they realize the families they forge through shared experience are as important as those inherited through birth.
A smart, edgy and poignantly funny exploration of the complexities of what parenthood means today, Monica Drake's second novel demonstrates that when it comes to babies, we can learn a lot by considering our place in the animal kingdom.

Author: MONICA DRAKE is the author of Clown Girl (Hawthorne Books), winner of an Eric Hoffer Award and an "IPPY" (Independent Publishers Award). Her essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of journals, and she is a regular contributor to The Oregonian, The Portland Mercury, and the Stranger (Seattle). Monica has an MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently faculty at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Discussion has officially started!

Ever since reading Clown Girl years ago, I've been waiting patiently for Monica to write another book. Finally it's out. And finally I've been able to squeeze it into the line-up here. It's been getting a ton of press. I really can't wait to start it.

Order 'The Stud Book' here!

Get to reading!

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 1, 2013 - 5:21pm

Discussion officially started today.


I'm still working on it. But, as I think I posted somewhere else, I'm really surprised by the story. Not what I was expecting at all. Should make for an interesting discussion.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly August 5, 2013 - 12:28am

I'm reading this. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 5, 2013 - 5:03pm

Awesome! Can't wait to see what you think.

Like I said before, I'm enjoying it and it's not what I thought it was going to be.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly August 7, 2013 - 4:05pm

So, anyone know where I might score some *cough*crystal light*cough*?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 8, 2013 - 7:52am

I'm at the part where Georgie goes to the convention to introduce Clifford. Please tell me there is a lot more going on with the Crystal Light.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly August 11, 2013 - 9:14pm

Yeah, not so much with the Crystal Light.  Seems kind of like a gun in the room that never gets shot. There's another, too, that I just don't feel were resolved to my liking. (Spoiler free)

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 12, 2013 - 2:23pm

I'll be finishing this in the next day or two. I'll post complete thoughts then.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 13, 2013 - 4:08pm

I ordered this off of an Amazon seller and it's still not arrived, but I'll be limping in late for the discussion.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 14, 2013 - 5:47am

While reading the book, I was thinking it was going to be 4-4.5 stars the whole time. Even though the style was a total departure from Clown Girl, I really enjoyed it. Her writing is on point for the story she is telling.

*SPOILERS* for the most part.

There were so many plot and subplot threads introduced throughout the story, while reading it was hard to figure out what the story was going to be. Nice writing aside, I didn't know what the story was until the last couple chapters.

Like Dave, I feel that a few of these subplots should have been dealt with. We were just left hanging. A few I wish were expanded on:
- AKA - he just disappears and then she goes to his old house and finds the photos of him as a kid, and that's it? She brought back the pregnant animal at the zoo, but couldn't bring AKA back.
- Crystal Light - I would have loved to find out more about this. But then maybe Arena was telling the truth. But also Nyla tried to investigate and push for evidence and it was just sort of forgotten about after that.
- The weird church - granted this was never a huge thing, but it could have been expanded on a bit.

When we were getting towards the end, I think I started to think that somebody had to die and Humble had to become a good guy. So I didn't exactly guess the ending, but I started to suspect the direction things would go in. This isn't a bad thing. And I liked how the story was handled at that point.

But did you guys think that the guys were all kind of stupid sexist assholes and all the girls were super naive (almost all like the dumb blonde stereotype)?

Overall, I think I would give the book 3 stars. I didn't love it, but I did like it. I'll still be reading just about anything else Monica writes for sure.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines August 20, 2013 - 8:17am

I'm LATE to the party! 

I've said it before and I will say it again; NOBODY tortures their characters like Monica Drake. Seriously. I squirmed for her protag in Clown Girl and I cringed for each of the characters in The Stud Book. 

I really enjoyed the Stud Book and Drake's choice of POV. I swung between reading as a writer to being engrossed as a reader. 

What I particularly liked about the different female characters was that they are over the top extrapolations of facets of myself as a quote unquote modern women. Post femininism fall out, I juggle the career/aspirations of Georgie (who rallies to be "cool" to Humble and not let her female "needs" encroach on his male "rights") and then there's a little Dulcet left over from my errant teenaged years; still like to party and get down with wide open ideas about what sexual liberation actually looks like, Nyla's idealism and the taking care of my bod by way of whole foods and yoga, and Sarah's compulsion towards motherhood in order to feel realized/completed as a woman...Maybe it would be a stretch for me to say that many women who don't ascribe to the mindless moral majority mentality share aspects of each of these characters, too? I thought it was a pretty cool aspect of the story in any event. 

Pete, as far as guys all being stupid sexist assholes and girls being naive; my experience has been that that's a fair generalization of society, present company excluded of course. 


I gave The Stud Book 4.5 stars. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 21, 2013 - 9:03am

Ha! Fair enough Drea. :)

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break November 10, 2014 - 7:17am