• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Summer of the Monkeys - September 2022 Book Club Reading

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Summer of the Monkeys written by Wilson Rawls (the author of Where the Red Fern Grows) and published in 1976. The book tells the story of 14-year-old Jay Berry Lee, who has enjoyed an idyllic childhood. The child of sharecroppers, his family moves to Oklahoma after his grandfather offers them free land. Daisy, his sister, has a crippled leg, and they devote much effort to gaining enough money to pay for reconstructive surgery. One day, while looking for their lost milk cow, Jay Berry discovers monkeys in a nearby river bottom. He learns that they have escaped from a traveling circus, which has offered a vast reward for their capture: $100 for the chief monkey, "Jimbo", and $2 each for the others. The book relates Jay Berry's attempts to capture the monkeys and claim the reward.

I read this book in fourth grade and remember finding it fascinating. I am looking forward to seeing if any of it holds up to my childhood memories.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I was traveling with my parents and missed the month or so of school when the class was reading Where the Red Fern Grows. Never got around to reading it and haven't heard of this one but glad to finally read something by this author. If I'm on top of it schedule-wise I might try and read Where the Red Fern Grows too.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I couldn't sleep last night and so got through a lot of this last night. I remembered the vague outlines but I had forgot all about Jimbo getting Jay drunk on mash liquor.

I also forgot about all the local flavor that Rawls puts in the book. Jay adds a little saying to everything.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Finished it. This books ends nothing how I remember it. I believe 9 or ten year old me created a whole new ending to this book that is a lot more exciting than the actual ending. (I legit remember this book having some sort of big net over a tree and Jay running into it to grab monkeys.)

Memory is weird.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
What feels like pages and pages of how great boys and grandpas are capped with a line about the terrible punishment of having to wear a girl's bonnet is making it very obvious why I so desperately wanted to be a boy in elementary school. So much school reading was stuff like this: boys having great adventures and being awesome and women being the butt of the joke, weak or henpecking. No wonder the boys wouldn't let me play on their teams because I was a girl, they had nothing but examples of how girls couldn't do things and boys could. Sigh.

I'm sure I'll come around on the book and can detach from it, but right now this is bringing back some pretty painful elementary school stuff. Gonna put it aside for tonight and hope I can repress things and pick it back up, but I dunno.

Edit: I did brace myself for awkwardness about Native Americans during the land discussion part, but that does seem to be handled as just a transaction and at least they traded for it rather than just seizing the land (at least in the book and at least as far as I've gotten). I was also braced for racism during all the "heart of Africa" stuff, as the "darkest part of Africa" stuff has so much racism inherent in it as a trope. For something published in the 1970s I don't expect it to be free from racism but it's doing better than I thought on that front (again, as far as I've gotten into the book).
 
Last edited:

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Crippled people can see spirits because "that's how the Lord shows them mercy", whoof.

Still, it definitely is your classic adventure book, and the Disney and Looney Tunes offerings in the 70s were similar. This book does make me want to give some Mark Twain a re-read. It's definitely a more modern and less racist version of Twain's books aimed at kids. I do think it succeeded and it has a lot of fun scenes and I suppose it's not surprising that they added a moral lesson at the end to counter so many complaints about Twain's characters not showing responsibility.

What my friend's kids are reading and watching at this grade is so different now, lots more representation and movement away from the "boy and a dog and a gun" trope and idea of what boyhood should be (and questioning the idea of boyhood being a goal, which is nice too but very much still in progress). I'm in a Classics book club and discussing the all the -isms that were accepted as part of literature and culture and how that's changed is always fascinating.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Yeah, the ableism and sexism are really up front. I'd be surprised if this book was even still on the reading list for kids. Not only because they've got all this patriarchy baked in. But, most kids today, even rural ones, don't have much in common with the story here. When parent's don't even let their kids play on the street in front of their house how alien must it be to read about a kid who basically does whatever he wants out in the wilderness.

Oh, did anyone else thing that for a 14 year old this kid was real dumb? Just spectacularly simple? If he'd been 10 or 12 it might be believable but 14?!

I was expecting something a little more heavy from this book, considering how Where the Red Fern Grows ends. But, in this one everything ends perfectly. Its all a little too pat for me. As if God is a vending machine where you put good works in and your wants come out.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Oh, did anyone else thing that for a 14 year old this kid was real dumb? Just spectacularly simple? If he'd been 10 or 12 it might be believable but 14?!
I definitely kept being surprised when that came up in the narrative. I don't have a copy of Little House on the Prairie, but feel like Laura was younger than that and much smarter and more capable? Been probably 20 years since I read that one though. Maybe I'll put that on the list for our 2023 book club...
 
Top