CHARACTERS Ü Mister Monkey


Terpretation of his role; Edward a young audience member who is candidly unimpressed with the play; Ray the author of the novel on which the musical is based who witnesses one of the most awkward first dates in literature; and even the eponymous Mister Monkey the Monkey God himselfWith her trademark wit and verve Prose delves into humanity’s most profound mysteries art ambition childhood aging and love Startling and captivating Mister Monkey is a breathtaking novel from a writer at the height of her cra. I love Francine Prose's work and I particularly savored MISTER MONKEY On the surface it's about the world's worst children's musical ever and that is a very high bar And in that regard the novel is a hoot But on a deeper level it's about the cast and the audience the people who for different reasons are part of or witness to this disaster And there the novel is insightful and wistful and deeply moving

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Mister MonkeyThe acclaimed New York Times bestselling author weaves an ingenious darkly humorous and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off off off off Broadway children’s musicalMister Monkey a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime Margot who plays the chimp’s lawyer knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her ac. I'd rate this around 35 starsI remember a number of times attending a local professional theater production that wasn't particularly good and I wondered about those involved Did the actors know it was bad and if so were they soldiering on for the sake of the audience or were they so far gone in their own careers that this was the best they could do It was an interesting but somewhat sad thoughtBut the actors and presumably the director never expected that they would wind up doing that play—in that theater Whatever they'd hoped to achieve in their careers certainly wasn't thatFrancine Prose's new novel reminded me a bit of those productions The story of a very far off Broadway production of a children's musical called Mister Monkey the book is both satire and commentary on many different aspects of our society It's surprisingly sensitive and astute in some places amusing in others and doesn't uite work as a wholeMister Monkey is a musical that has had many runs all over the world over the years but probably should have been taken off the boards a while ago The story of an orphaned chimpanzee who is adopted by a widower and his children only to be surprised when the cheekily larcenous monkey is accused of stealing the wallet belonging to his father's girlfriend the musical is a favorite of some and reviled by others yet it lives on Even the author of the book on which the musical is based hates the stage adaptationThe cast of the latest production is in a bit of an uproar Adam the young gymnast who plays the title character is in the throes of puberty and his alternately lascivious and obnoxious behavior has nearly all of his fellow actors on edge Margot a once promising actress who views this production as a true sign of her downfall not only finds herself being preyed on by Adam but mistreated by the director who outfits her in a garish costume that makes her feel foolish Lakshmi the earnest young costume supervisor doesn't uite understand her purpose in the show but views it as fodder for the play she wishes to writeEach of these characters is the focus of their own chapter as are everyone from the show's director and the author of the original book to an elderly grandfather who is in the audience the first day the wheels start to come off of the production his grandson his grandson's kindergarten teacher and a waiter at a fancy restaurant who is given tickets to the show by the author It's an interesting approach one which seems to be used freuently in books and here it has mixed resultsI'll admit I expected this book to focus on the show and those involved and those chapters were the ones I enjoyed the most I get what Prose was trying to do with the other chapters both demonstrate the show's effect on audience members the author etc and provide commentary about our culture how children are raised these days and so on but I just didn't feel this worked as well as it could haveProse is one hell of a writer however and she has created a very memorable set of characters as well as imagery that you truly can see in your mind's eye I could almost picture certain musical numbers she described in all their dysfunctional glory I just wish this book didn't try to do too much because when it focused on the musical itself and those involved it was shall we say a hit See all of my reviews at

Francine Prose ✓ 1 CHARACTERS

CHARACTERS Ü Mister Monkey ä The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author weaves an ingenious darkly humorous and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off off off off Broadway children’s musicalMister Monkey—a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenouTing career She’s settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer and later in the middle of a performance has a shocking encounter with Adam the twelve year old who plays the title roleFrancine Prose’s effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds There is Adam whose looming adolescence informs his in. It started out fun but devolved into crap I can't think of a better way to say it I switched to hate reading about half way through On a positive note I was worried I wouldn't have a book to root against in this year's Tournament of books Found it