Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: Do You Know the Monkey Man?

Author:  Dori Hillstead Butler
Peachtree Publishers 

Throughout my various publishing internships, I managed to collect quite a number of books. Some were received as payment for my services, others I found particularly intriguing and actually purchased, and a few I selected strictly based on a striking jacket. Two summers ago, I interned with an independent children’s publisher in Atlanta called Peachtree. It was here I came across Do You Know the Monkey Man?. The title immediately caught my eye and I knew it would make a fine addition to my collection.

I DO have a confession to make…I acquire books at a rate faster than I can actually read them. I have wonderful intentions, but many find their way on my bookshelves only to move farther and farther down my “to read” list. Falling behind the new paranormal teen romance, crime thriller, and even trashy beach read (aka Playground) “Do You Know the Monkey Man” waited patiently on my shelf until this past week. Little did I know, I had a quiet gem all along…

Thirteen year old Sam Wright wants answers and she is going to do anything to find them. She lost her twin sister Sarah when she was three years old in a horrible canoeing accident, and her father mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter. Sam’s mother is now getting remarried and she must deal with idea of having a new Stepfather. In addition, Sam has been having strange dreams about her dead twin and an eerie feeling that she is somehow still alive. “Do You Know the Monkey Man” takes readers on Sam’s physical and emotional journey of finding her biological father and discovering the truth about her family’s past.

I needed an additional cup of coffee this morning because after getting halfway through the book last night, I quickly realized I would not be able to put it down until I was finished. It was fast paced and suspenseful and my interest forced me to each following chapter. The author, Dori Hillstead Butler, does a wonderful job of relaying the complex emotions of an early teen who is trying to find her place in a broken family.

Teens and adults alike can learn a valuable lesson from this book. We live in a world where we are constantly in search of the unknown, the better, the “greener grass” of life. While at times we do find what we are looking for, sometimes along the way we learn to appreciate the life we have and the people who are in it. The message of the story is a beautiful one: there is no single definition of family. Family is a feeling, an emotion. It is comfort, dependability and trust. Family is love.

The sequel is entitled Yes, I Know the Monkey Man and I assure you, this one won’t sit on the shelf.


  1. This sounds like a good one--goodness knows I don't need more books in my pile myself...but still...