Monday, Monday - can't trust that day
On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas Tower with three rifles, two pistols, and a sawed-off shotgun. The 25-year-old architectural engineering major and ex-Marine—who had previously complained of searing headaches and depression—had already murdered his mother, Margaret, and his wife, Kathy, earlier that morning. He fired his first shots just before noon, aiming with chilling precision at pedestrians below. “The crime scene spanned the length of five city blocks . . . and covered the nerve center of what was then a relatively small, quiet college town,” noted executive editor Pamela Colloff in her 2006 oral history of the shootings. “Hundreds of students, professors, tourists, and store clerks witnessed the 96-minute killing spree as they crouched behind trees, hid under desks, took cover in stairwells, or, if they had been hit, played dead.”
At the time, there was no precedent for such a tragedy. Whitman “introduced the nation to the idea of mass murder in a public space,” wrote Colloff. By the time he was gunned down by an Austin police officer early that afternoon, he had shot 43 people, thirteen of whom died. (taken from texasmonthly.com)
Monday, Monday, by Elizabeth Crook is a fictional account of the lives of three survivors of this actual shooting event. Shelly Maddox, an undergraduate student at the University of Texas is the predominant focus/character of the story. Wyatt Calvert and Jack Stone are cousins, best friends and already married graduate students at the school and were responsible for rescuing Shelly and carrying her to safety on that harrowing afternoon. The relationship developed between these three following this horrific event is what shapes their future, their families and this story.
Following this harrowing afternoon and their recovery, a more illicit relationship forms between Shelly and Wyatt. They are drawn to one another as they feel as though only together can they truly piece what and understand how they survived that day at UT. Their forbidden love affair, the subsequent pregnancy will then invoke all three in a vow of secrecy spanning forty years. Monday, Monday brings us on an extremely emotional journey over these years as Shelly, Wyatt, Jack, their spouses and children are forever and very tied together due to this one event.
Eventually, and after too many close calls and too many questions arise in their children’s minds, Shelly, Jack and Wyatt are forced into another highly and emotionally charged reunion decades following that one afternoon. Here is where all unravels and is exposed and when they are forced to confront how this event so powerfully changed their lives forever.
Monday, Monday is an excellent tale demonstrating how this one event spirals out over many decades and affects not only their individual lives so powerfully, but those of their families and children. It takes an event that played out on national news and personalizes it so powerfully, emotionally and beautifully. There are so many great and powerful moments that will rip at your heart and have you reaching for the tissues. I truly did experience a roller coaster of emotions throughout. Crook has done an amazing job of clearly showing the personal side of how one singular event can cause, create and form the path followed by three victims. The emotions it pulls out from you is so incredibly well done inside these pages. I highly recommend reading Monday, Monday.
Thank you to FSB Associates and in particular Leyane Jerejian for alerting us to this novel and allowing us to read it prior to its release.
The Texas Tower at the University of Texas (photo from Westernjournalism.com)
This sounds great and gripping. I’m going to have to add it to my ever growing list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the descriptions used are a little bit “off”?, but overall, it pulls a lot of emotion from you! A very well done personalized account of a traumatic and public event. Hopefully you can find time to squeeze that in there! 😉