I Don’t Like Mondays
I Don’t Like MondaysClara Clementine Eliasson
Akin to Emma Cline’s The Girls and classic Thelma & Louise, I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS is an emotionally-charged whirlwind of a debut novel, loosely based on the infamous ‘I don’t like Mondays’ 1979 school shooter Brenda Ann Spencer, focusing on the months leading up to the event.
‘Her name was Elisabeth Sumner, but I called her B. She made my life an adventure when I thought nothing was ever going to happen. I have to tell the story of her and everything we experienced, because in all other stories, she was just the girl behind that shooting. And I need to write about my own guilt in what was to come.’
San Diego 1978. Fifteen-year-old Julie leads a lonely, closeted life in a white picket fence suburb, when her neighbour B suddenly knocks on her door. B brings with her adventure, danger and kisses tasting of cinnamon and whisky—along with the scent of dead birds, gunpowder and rage. What was to follow sent shock waves throughout the USA and the world, reverberating still today.
2019. Forty years later, when B escapes from prison where she’s been jailed for the 1979 shooting, Julie’s memories of their wild, impossible summer come back to haunt her; the summer B took her on an unbridled road-trip where danger and desperation were their constant companions. But what happened that summer to cause B to commit the heinous act, and what was Julie’s role in it?
In this absolutely remarkable debut novel, Clara Clementine Eliasson pens a deft and passionate tale about the obsession of first love, the utter despair of feeling doomed from the start, and of the freedom of running wild in the hot, feverish nights among the flowering citrus trees of southern California. Hurtling at an impossible speed toward a dreadful end, I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS reminds the reader of the tragic yet life-affirming Thelma & Louise, the hope of innocence in the face of evil in Emma Cline’s The Girls, as well as the blinding fury toward an unfair world in Joyce Carol Oates’ Foxfire.
* The term ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ was coined by Brenda Ann Spencer in an on-air radio interview minutes after the shooting. Spencer’s bizarre response to the question why she opened fire on the elementary school across the road inspired Bob Geldof to pen the unforgettable hit song of the same name. The character B in Eliasson’s book is inspired by the real life Brenda Ann Spencer.