Excerpt from Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Monkey Dancing

A Father, Two Kids and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth

by Daniel Glick

Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick X
Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2003, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Rebecca and I, happily married for fifteen years with two great kids, had watched smugly as our friends struggled, separated, and split up, never dreaming we might join the ranks of the divorced. We had always enjoyed the kind of marriage that, if tested in a reality-TV show with our married peers, would have been voted "least likely to break up." The cameras would follow us into our bedroom, voyeurs would see that after seventeen years of living together, we still told stories about our day, about our kids, laughing so hard the toothpaste slush squirted on the mirror, finding passion in our familiar bodies, tenderness in each other's touch.

When the marriage did disintegrate, we at least had a slightly unusual way of cleaving apart. Yes, she fell in love with somebody else, a story as old as dirt, but that somebody else was another woman, which seemed a novel, fin de siècle, Baby Boomer, post-feminist way of going about calling it quits. Even in the face of a potential change in sexual orientation, we didn't give up easily and spent a year or more trying hard to trim the wayward threads and hold the marriage together: marriage therapy, a reconciliation after the first affair, a promise and sincere effort to break new ground. But slowly, inexorably, our marriage, our family as we knew it, came apart.

We both sensed the confusion in our kids. They had certainly seen their friends' parents in the active stages of breaking up, heard about the fights and the lawyers and the confusion. Our kids obviously felt a little like I did: How could their parents, who always appeared so happy, divorce? Didn't we start our marriage with a three-year honeymoon traveling around Asia, hadn't we just taken adventurous trips to Pakistan and Costa Rica together? Kolya and Zoe knew the creation myth of their parents' relationship like an ancient Greek child knew about Earth and Sky and Zeus and Athena: how I had met Rebecca while wearing black tights in a modern dance class when we were both undergraduates at UC Berkeley; how I had come home that day and told my younger brother Steve that I had met the mother of my children. How it came to pass that we were married and the kids were born, wanted, and loved. And they saw that it was good.

Like their dad, they wondered how it had all unraveled so fast.

And like their dad, they had to figure out how to make sense of their lives again.



Confusion or no, Rebecca pronounced the marriage dead, and when one person comes to that conclusion it's a decision for two. Or in this case, four. After we split, our lives took even more unexpected turns. When Rebecca left, I assumed that we would become another of the ubiquitous couples who, after a predictable period of being insufferable toward each other, find a modus vivendi to pass the kids back and forth to each other's houses on alternating weeks. In time, we would accommodate each other to allow for a special weekend away with the new boyfriend/girlfriend, to attend a workshop or a class reunion or a ski trip with old friends.

I was completely surprised, then, when she informed me she planned to move to the West Coast. "You know, you can't take the kids if you move there," I told her, armed with a vague notion of Colorado law that made me think that she couldn't move out of state with the kids simply in order to move in with her new lover, whatever the gender.

She surprised me again. "I know. I'm moving there anyway."

Then I panicked. Her living at that distance would preclude, among other things, the possibility of her picking the kids up from school if they fell ill in the middle of the day while I went on an assignment for Newsweek, where I worked as a roving Rocky Mountain correspondent. How was I supposed to make a living covering breaking news from Montana to New Mexico with a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old at home?

Copyright 2003 by Daniel Glick. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher PublicAffairs.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    A hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.