The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls is a novel about an inquisitive boy of 14 years named Jay Berry who lives on his family farm in Oklahoma. Jay Berry has a twin sister who has special needs due to her crippled leg. His parents and grandparents are trying to save enough money for the treatment of her leg. One day, Jay Berry discovers a group of monkeys at the river bottoms while in search of the family cow; he then informs his grandfather about his discovery. His grandfather explains to him that the monkeys had escaped from a circus truck after it was in an accident.
Seeking to earn the award for capturing the monkeys, Jay Berry has his eyes set on the $100 monkey, and will also get $2 each for the smaller ones; with the money, he hopes to buy a .22 gun and a pony. Devising numerous methods to abduct the monkeys, Jay Berry has great trouble trying to do so, because the most valuable monkey, named Jimbo, acts as though he is human; Jimbo protects the other smaller monkeys like a mother protecting her babies, which makes Jay’s mission much harder. To find out what happens to Jay Berry and the monkeys, read this amusing novel.
I enjoyed this book, with mixed feelings about it. Set in rural Oklahoma, I liked the book because of the way the author described in detail the attempt of apprehending the monkeys. Jay Berry’s character was interesting, and I loved his perseverance and how he was not discouraged from capturing the monkeys. Although the book had an intriguing plot, the execution could have been improved. Recommended for 8 year-olds and above, I might have liked this adventurous book better if had read it in Elementary school. Overall, a great, quick read for somebody looking for a simple, heartwarming story.
-Anmol K., 8th grade