Did You See the Monkeys?
by Eddy Arnold
Trafford Publishing

"He was too old to pretend and when you're too old to pretend you are at best dead and at worst grown up."

This is a story about a young boy's loss of a childhood friend, his innocence, and his childhood itself. Set in two landscapes–a physical one in rural Mississippi and a metaphysical one within the memory of the main character–Arnold weaves in and out of a mixture of past and present, all simultaneously told to the reader, leaving one to wade through a huge river of emotion and recollection, starting deep at its source, flowing out to its mouth, and manifesting into the incarnation of the story itself. Breaking the rules of conventional language, Arnold's style harks back to that of William Faulkner's as dialogue is devoid of quotation marks. The author highlights frantic thought and speech by employing run-on sentences as a device to denote a child's exasperation and an adult's reliving of painful memories as though first experiencing them. The story's demands to be told in this bold, unabashed, and unmitigated format and Arnold's technique is exemplary in demonstrating how craft can mimic content, underscoring the powerful emotion in this book.

The title of the book is taken from a question the main character's mother innocently asks him one afternoon. It's as if Arnold has purposefully styled his book to seem as though the main character is symbolically swinging from branch to branch in a dark and harsh environment, attempting to escape his memory, his past, and the jungle that is his life, much like a scared little primate. A book about fathers and sons, mentors and mentees, protectors and those they protect, Did You See the Monkeys? is a heart-felt story of a child's journey to becoming a young man in an unforgiving, brutal world.

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