Monica Drake is the author of Clown Girl and The Stud Book. She lives in Portland, Oregon and teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Monica’s most recent book, The Folly of Loving Life, is finding wonderful reviews. Her earlier novels include The Stud Book and Clown Girl, which was optioned for film by Kristen Wiig. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, The Sun, Beloit Fiction Review, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Northwest Review, and Nerve.com.
A sharp-edged satire of contemporary motherhood from a comic novelist on the rise.
In the hip haven of Portland, Oregon, a pack of unsteady but loyal friends asks what it means to bring babies into an already crowded world.
Sarah studies animal behavior at the zoo. She’s well versed in the mating habits of captive animals, and at the same time she’s desperate to mate, to create sweet little offspring of her own. Georgie is busy with a newborn, while her husband, Humble, finds solace in bourbon and televised violence. Dulcet makes a living stripping down in high school gyms to sell the beauty of sex-ed. Nyla is out to save the world while having trouble saving her own teen daughter, who has discovered the world of drugs and the occult. As these friends and others navigate a space between freedom and intimacy, they realize the families they forge through shared experience are as important as those inherited through birth.
A smart, edgy and poignantly funny exploration of the complexities of what parenthood means today, Monica Drake’s second novel demonstrates that when it comes to babies, we can learn a lot by considering our place in the animal kingdom.
Following her acclaimed novels Clown Girl and The Stud Book, Monica Drake presents her long-awaited first collection of stories. The Folly of Loving Life features linked stories examining an array of characters at their most vulnerable and human, often escaping to somewhere or trying to find stability in their own place. These stories display the best of what we love about Monica’s writing — the sly laugh-out-loud humor, the sharp observations, the flawed but strong characters, and the shadowy Van Sant-ish Portland settings.
Drake has created a novel that blends the high comedy of early film stars–most notably Chaplin and W.C. Fields–to raise questions of class, gender, economics, and prejudice. Resisting easy classification, this debut novel blends the bizarre, the humorous, and the gritty with great skill.
I asked the cardiologist why an electrocardiogram was called an EKG, instead of an ECG.
He said, “Nazis. Nazis invented the machine.”
After he left, I found a napkin on my breakfast tray and wrote that down: EKG = Nazis.
The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.
In the middle of a wrist’s suicide slash-line, below the layered skin and above the pulse, there’s an acupuncture point that says, Get back to who you were meant to be. This is the heart spot, the center. Your whole life the skin on that place will stay closest to being a baby’s skin, as close as you can get anymore to the way you started, the way you once thought you’d always be.
When life sucks, throw yourself into art.
I thought I was old, back then. I thought I was grown up. I didn’t know all my big mistakes were up ahead of me, still to come. Always.
The only value of wasted time is knowledge.