Motherless Siblings, Bipolar Disorder and Family Secrets in Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur

Little monsters


Adrienne Brodeur is no stranger to complex family relationships as we know from her memoir, Wild Game, so it not surprising that she has written this engrossing novel that takes place in beautiful Cape Cod, the place she was raised. Little Monsters, set in the summer of 2016, is about Adam, a marine biologist with bipolar disorder who raised his son Ken and daughter Abby on his own after his wife Emily died following childbirth. Ken is married to Abby’s best friend, Jenny, and they are all preparing for Adam’s 70th birthday party.

Siblings Ken and Abby, flawed and broken, have a strained relationship; Ken is a politician and owns the home Abby lives in, and she is a struggling artist. They both hold secrets and through multiple POVs we learn of the past and come to understand more of why things have devolved.

Jealousy, resentment, mental illness, misogyny, politics and long buried secrets, along with art, sea life and an unexpected ending made this fictional story, Little Monsters feel authentic and powerful. With the past wreaking havoc on the present, Adrienne Brodeur keeps us engrossed with emotions on edge in her character driven drama as we navigate what is means to be family.

Adrienne Brodeur

About the Author:

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the novel Little Monsters and the memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me, which was described by The New York Times Book Review as: “Exquisite and harrowing. . . . The book is so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting.” Published in October 2019 by HMH Books, Wild Game’s film rights were bought by Chernin Entertainment with Nick Hornby attached to adapt and Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the director of Mustang, attached to direct.

Adrienne has spent the past two decades of her professional life in the literary world, discovering voices, cultivating talent, and working to amplify underrepresented writers. Her publishing career began with founding the fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Storywith filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, where she served as editor-in-chief from 1996-2002. The magazine has won the prestigious National Magazine Award for best fiction four times. In 2005, she became an editor at Harcourt (later, HMH Books), where she acquired and edited literary fiction and memoir. Adrienne left publishing in 2013 to become Creative Director — and later Executive Director — of Aspen Words, a literary arts nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute. In 2017, she launched the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.

Adrienne splits her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband and children. 

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