Book Review,  Recipe

The Monsters We Make Book Review

by Kali White VanBaale

narrated by Mia Barron 
set in Des Moines, Iowa, 1984

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Des Moines, Iowa, 1984; the center of the Midwest, where “kids were taught God and manners….Bad was other places. Other cities…..”

A second paperboy has vanished in the span of two years. Sergeant Goodkind is now in charge of finding 13 year old Christopher Stewart after failing to solve the disappearance of Matthew Kline. Goodkind, struggling to repair his damaged marriage, is again being  pulled away from his family and inside the hunt, a constant search for the missing boys. This couldn’t be happening again. 

Paperboy Sammy Cox and his older sister Crystal, an investigative journalist in training, are also involved. Secrets abound, sneaking in and out of the pages. Their stories intertwine with Goodkind’s to spark a fast-paced reading of this slow burning book.  

Instantly hooked, I was thrown back into my childhood. Like Crystal, I too grew up wearing thick gawky glasses in the eighties. (If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to see my geeky photo. Swipe left above 😉 🤓)

White is a skillful writer, immediately immersing the reader into her story. Jelly shoes, wall telephones, waterbeds and avocado green kitchens are just the atmospheric bed on which White layers a raw, intense tale filled with unexpected turns and burning questions. My only regret? I was left with a few of those burning questions singeing my brain. If anyone else who has read this would like to discuss, please reach out!!

Warning ⚠️ triggers: child abuse, pedophilia 

The Monsters We Make is based upon true events. Johnny Gosch was the first paperboy to go missing in 1982. He was also the first missing child to be put on a milk carton. This fascinating story is now on Amazon Prime. I recommend reading the book first.

Audiobook Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I listened to this book on Audible. Narrated by Mia Barron, I found the audio to be hypnotic, lyrical, very pleasant, and clear.  

Food Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I had lots of goodies to choose from! Lots of eighties throwbacks like sloppy Joes and fudge striped cookies.


Sloppy Joes

Is there a more midwestern meal representative of the eighties?!?

Fudge Stripe Cookies

The Nerdy Gourmet
The Nerdy Gourmet

Hi friends!! I’m Jenni, The Nerdy Gourmet. I love books and I love food. Combining the two with a splash of travel has become my passion. I am a self taught cook/baker and I believe that everyone can cook from scratch! I’m here with recipes and Nerdy Tips to help along the way.  
I review books, mostly ‘read’ via audio, and I create recipes inspired by the story lines. Sometimes if I am deeply moved by a story, I will travel and try my best to experience the book- and bring you along via my blog! I provide all the photographs and content for the Nerdy Gourmet (unless otherwise noted). 

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