After 15 years of designing more than 1,500 book jackets at Knopf for such authors as Anne Rice and Michael Chrichton, Kidd has crafted an affecting an entertaining novel set at a state university in the late 1950s that is both slap-happily funny and heartbreakingly sad. The Cheese Monkeys is a college novel that takes place over a tightly written two semesters. The book is set in the late 1950s at State U, where the young narrator, has decided to major in art, much to his parents dismay. It is an autobiographical, coming-of-age novel which tells universally appealing stories of maturity, finding a calling in life, and being inspired by a loving, demanding, and highly eccentric teacher.
“Kidd’s funhouse designs never fail to thrill. The same could be said of this unexpected, terrific novel by the designer himself…. It’s a pleasure to find that Kidd’s writing is as meticulous and energized as his book jackets; still more a pleasure to discover in Kidd an irresistible comic voice that sounds so modern, and so right, even as it re-creates the undergraduate life of the late 1950s….THE CHEESE MONKEYS is, we realize, a manifesto for design itself. But it’s more, too, thanks to Kidd’s knack for disarmingly left-field observations….Like the provocative Sorbeck, Kidd, in this comic gem, teaches us a thing or two about how to look at the world.”