The day Flimmy, Templeton's lake monster, is found dead is also the day when Willy Upton arrives back home. She is pregnant and the father of her child is her married professor. Willy has to make up her mind whether she wants to keep the child or not. During her stay she learns that her own father is not a man her mother lived with in a commune, as she was always told, but a man from Templeton. Her mother leaves it to Willy to find out who it really is. The only clue she provides is that her father, too, is a descendant of Marmaduke Temple, the founder of Templeton who lived in the 19th century.
This novel encompasses the lives of about five generations of descendants of Marmaduke Temple. Though this could turn out confusing, Groff managed to keep it neat. Every time Willy gets to know something profoundly new about her family the changes are drawn into a family tree. I personally like to watch family trees, I don't know why exactly. But Willy's search for the truth holds lots of surprises and reveals some odd birds, while her personal life takes twists and turns, too. Sometimes I just couldn't understand Willy's emotional life, e.g. why she is so angry with her mother, or why Primus Dwyer, her professor, suddenly is an a..hole. ***spoiler*** Must have been the pregnancy which later turns out to be a pseudo pregnancy.
I very much fell for one of the last chapters about Flimmy and how it comes that it died, it was sad but beautiful.
It is a strong debut novel and a shame it is not more well known in the reading world. Four stars.