rating: 4 of 5 stars
Overall I rather enjoyed this whimsical book, although I think Groff could benefit from some time spent studying real relationships and human motivations. The reasons proferred for Vivienne keeping the book’s key secret (don’t want to spoil it) never felt genuine to me, nor did the relationship between she and Willie. As for escapism, this book serves its purpose well, but I would be wary of calling it great literature. It’s strength, to me, lies in the relationship between the town and the monster, as well as that between Willie and the high-school jock, both of which are given short-shrift in Groff’s plot-heavy work. The historical passages are a nice touch, but seem to devolve into rambling instead of adding anything of merit to our understanding of Willie or her history.
In short, enjoyable as entertainment, but not spectacular or particularly thought-provoking.