#14: Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend

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The next episode in our 2017 backlog is from June, when we read Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend. This book was Ashley’s pick, and deals with two young Black girls from Kentucky trying to make it to New York as performers and entertainers during the Jazz Age. Saint Monkey has themes of racism, sexism, small town life, and probably more, but we got a little fixated on a character who ends up dating her childhood best friend’s murderous dad. I’ll just leave it at that.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Saint Monkey has two narrators; what were your thoughts about this? Does this enhance the novel, or is the shift between perspectives confusing? Did you prefer one girl over the other in terms of story?
  2. Audrey has a way or an obsession with numbers and counting. What do you think the author is trying to show through Audrey’s mathematic “gift”? How do the other children, and Caroline specifically, see this part of her?
  3. Why doesn’t Audrey move back to New York when her marriage with August is over? What would her life be like? What is it about Mt. Sterling that draws her back?

Our theme song is Balance of Power by Mr. Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures, which we found on freemusicarchive.org.

Happy reading!