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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Murdering Mr. Monti

Murdering Mr. Monti: A Merry Little Tale of Sex and Violence by Judith Viorst
While the title brings thoughts of a murder mystery to mind, the phrase A Merry Little Tale in the subtitle reveals this novel as a Comedy of Manners where the humorous situations, and some suspense, drive the plot.

Set in the suburbs of Washington DC, the book is about Brenda Kovner, a successful 46 year old syndicated advice columnist who is married to Jake a pediatric surgeon. They have two grown sons Jeff and Wally. Wally has fallen in love with Jo Monti the youngest daughter of Joseph Monti, a narcissistic bully of a man. Mr. Monti has dominated his wife and three daughters, and Jo has shown budding signs of rebellion by falling in love with a Jewish man. Mr. Monti stands in the way of Wally and Jo's plans. Not only does he intend to drive off Wally, but he has taken steps to ruin Jake and Jeff's lives.

Brenda has reached middle age having slept with only Jake her husband, and her attempts to micro-manage their life has created tensions in their marriage. She had decided before the story begins to sleep with other men before her 46th birthday in order to have a variety of sexual experience and ended up sleeping with three men in 24 hours. One of them was Mr. Monti.

Once she decides that the only way out of her problems is to murder Mr. Monti, the readers' fun begins.

Judith Viorst is an established author of poetry and children's books. This delightful novel shows her skills at character development and humor. Filled with her own advice from her syndicated column, well-developed characters, outlandish situations, and a complex plot full of surprises, this is a delightful fun read.

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