Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mammoth Cheese” as Want to Read:
The Mammoth Cheese
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mammoth Cheese

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  820 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
When Manda Frank conceives eleven babies with the help of fertility treatments, she brings the world's attention to rural Three Chimneys, Virginia. As the news media descends on the town, even bringing presidential candidate Adams Brooke to Manda's hospital bedside, the residents of Three Chimneys celebrate before the cameras. When all eleven children are born alive, Pasto ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 28th 2004 by Grove Press (first published July 5th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mammoth Cheese, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mammoth Cheese

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,511)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 25, 2011 Terence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Sheri Holman is becoming one of my favorite authors. The Mammoth Cheese wasn't as much fun to read as my first exposure to Holman - The Dress Lodger - but I still enjoyed it a lot, and Holman continues to create believably quirky characters and believably "mostly happy" endings. As I've mentioned in other contexts, I am drawn toward stories where the protagonists are constantly talking past each other yet - somehow - manage to cope with all that life throws at them and come through in the end.

Jul 24, 2007 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read a review that compared the plot of this book to the Mississippi River and I have to agree - not only does it pick up and drag along everything it encounters, it's S-L-O-W. In an attempt to create endearingly quirky characters, there are too many side plots and unresolved irrelevant issues, and most of the characters are unlikeable, not endearing. Far too much time is spent focusing on the teen-aged daughter's crush on her middle school history teacher. The only reason I gave this book two ...more
Left at the OBCZ at Martha's Pantry unregistered, so I'm registering it and will re-release it, possibly reading it first ;)

"When Manda Frank gives birth to an astonishing eleven babies, the world descends on her home town of Three Chimneys, Virginia. Beneath the intense media spotlight the town begins to give up it's long-held secrets: from unrequited love to more dangerous and subversive passions. Meanwhile, cheesemaker Margaret Prickett decides to highlight the plight of the rural community b
Jan 26, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes literary fiction, American history, or fantastic writing
I would agree that this book can be compared to the Mississippi River-- that is majestic and rich with history. I loved the complex and nuanced characters, and all of the historical detail. I'm an absolute sucker for this kind of book. I am going to run out, find all of Sheri Holman's other books and read them immediately.
Jamie Collins
This is quirky contemporary fiction set in a small Southern town which has become the center of a media circus following the birth of eleven babies to a local woman. (This was written before the Octomom spectacle.)

That poor woman’s story is interwoven with several others, including that of an indebted small dairy farmer who desperately needs a government bailout, and the farmer’s typically self-centered teenage daughter who’s in love with her reprehensible history teacher.

The original Mammoth Ch
Jo Ann Hall
Mar 21, 2010 Jo Ann Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I probably wouldn't have purchased this book based on the blurb or other reviews, I'm glad my previous time with Sheri Holman (The Dress Lodger) convinced me to give it a try.

I have to smile to myself when I envision this author sitting down at her computer and emailing an editor, "For my next book, I have in mind a subtle story about cheese, Thomas Jefferson's principles, and the darker side of a teenage crush." However, the story works, in great part because the characters are well-de
Mar 07, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An attempt at a great American novel, this book is predictable and rife with common themes that develop and play out in a generally predictable way. I've resigned myself to boring movie plots but a novel shouldn't have to worry about the special effects budget or overly-complicated plotlines.
This book is very readable, with fairly fleshed-out characters and authentic details that keep the reader from skimming. The lame portrait of a small town facing modernity improves with looks at dairy
Marilyn Saul
Well...I stuck with it. I was determined, despite many negative reviews, to give this book a fair reading. Holman had a bone to pick with fertility drugs and she made her point. But that wasn't the core of this book, which, sadly, just ended up being individuals who, though I started out liking, ended up being singularly unlikable, with August being the single exception. A protestant Priest obsessed with himself and giving out singularly bad advice to people in his role as pastor, advice that be ...more
Aug 07, 2009 Marvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The cover made it sound like a wonderfully goofy story, but in fact it's a pretty conventional--and largely disappointing--domestic drama. The characters--particularly the divorced mother, her 13-year-old daughter, and her farmhand (a Thomas Jefferson reenactor)--are appealing, but she puts them in some awkwardly drawn settings, and I didn't understand the function of the secondary story about the birth of 11 babies to a neighbor of the main characters.
Nov 01, 2014 Glen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So here are some of the plot ingredients of this novel: a 1200-lb block of cheese to be delivered to the President of the United States, a 13-year old girl who is insufferably self-important and melodramatic, a farm hand who reenacts the role of the historical Thomas Jefferson, a school teacher whose radical father had to escape to Canada during the 60s and who himself has secrets to hide, and a woman who gives birth to 11 children at one time(!!!)--to me these are the promising makings of a goo ...more
I found the charcters in this book pretty unlikeable. "I want to run my farm unprofitably and hopefully someone will come and give me money so it doesn't fail." Although in the end she does decide to fix things herself. The underlying paradigms in the book was just very different from my own ,so it was hard to get into the book.
Heather Clawson
This was one of those books that you read and you're pretty positive that there's some other deeper meaning you're supposed to get out of it, but the author has kind of muddled you with unecessary story lines so you can't quite grasp it.
HRS Mullen
Feb 11, 2015 HRS Mullen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at used book store just because of the very odd title. Loved it. It is a gentle political satire with a good heart, with everything a novel needs: a romance, a coming of age story, a moral center, a few deaths, a few laugh out loud situations, and a few breathtakingly beautifully written passages you have to read over again. It reminded me of Thomas Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities, only taken to politics in rural America.
The author nails the angst of a teenager growing up in Virgini
Sep 08, 2015 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't care for her selling the calves for veal and killing the dog. It had potential but I don't know what happened. Didn't care for it so I'm moving on.
Mar 12, 2014 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Holman's previous book, The Dress Lodger, but this one left me cold. One, it may have the worst title in book history. Two, it has a creepy pedophile male teacher and that IMMEDIATELY makes me dislike a book. And three, it has so many subplots and themes that it becomes unwieldy. It is part political satire, part religious critique, part love story, part coming-of-age story. Too much going on for it to be enjoyable. Characters in this book tend to make lengthy, self-important speeches ...more
Aug 19, 2016 Val rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wpff-main
This was the original mammoth cheese presented to Jefferson by the townsfolk of Cheshire, Massachusetts, in 1802:
(Note: It was a cheese from Cheshire, Massachusetts, not a cheshire cheese. It was also not mammoth cheese, which was theoretically possible, if brave ice-age milkmaids had managed to milk the mammoths.)
Some residents of the fictional town of Three Chimneys, Virginia, want to recreate the event. There appears to be only one resident who keeps d
Marjie Smith
The Mammoth Cheese is a moving story that interweaves history with the complicated life of rural America, where small dairy farms struggle with debt while large corporate farms get the subsidies. In this story, a woman decides to send a giant cheese to the new president because of his sworn support to the small farmer. In doing so, she is both re-enacting and revising history and, as she finds out, neglecting those she’s been given to love in her obsession to save her farm by romancing a senate ...more
Aug 26, 2011 Kaion rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
The Mammoth Cheese is a good illustration of an ambitious mess being more interesting than a safe success. Say what I will about the somewhat long and meandering narrative, Sheri Holman, at the very least, never bores me!

In the backdrop of rural Three Chimneys, Virginia, Sheri Holman tackles no less than (and in no particular order): politics and media, the value and drawbacks of tradition and community, and the meaning of "rebellion" in everyday contemporary American life. These themes emerge f
May 20, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this book for several reasons. For the most part, I found that even though this is somewhat "lighter" fiction, it still resonated with a lot of very revelant truths.
1) It had more believable characters than most. Their personalities were very consistent, with the book revealing how single character traits can have both good and bad sides to them- just as human beings are in reality.
2) The characters' struggles were very, very revelant to life as it is today. Especially as it deals w
Heather Knight
May 05, 2008 Heather Knight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as being about the abuse of power. It takes as its victims the emotionally fragile, and its aggressors are those in power: teachers, preachers, politicians. It's the story of a cheesemaker and Nth generation dairy farmer in rural Virginia. She backs a politician because of his farm-friendly platform and pledges to make him a "Mammoth Cheese," as the people of Massachusetts once did for Thomas Jefferson. While she is caught up in her task, her teenage daughter develops a crush on ...more
Nov 15, 2008 bup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, novel
Partly I miss Virginia, so this book by somebody who really knows her through and through was a welcome drink of water.

The characterizations are wonderfully vivid. In fact, I realized part of the way through, when I was having trouble getting through parts, it wasn't that I didn't like the book, or the careful, observant, dry-humored writing, it's that I detested some of the characters. On purpose, of course. Books aren't interesting if everyone's an angel.

Nobody in this book is perfect. One cha
Oct 17, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't hesitate to snatch The Mammoth Cheese off the shelf of an indy bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. I'd recently begun another of Holman's novels, The Dress Lodger, and admired it, but had stalled out due to its extraordinarily high ick factor (unusual for me -- see my review of that book). Still, Holman's storytelling interested me enough to grab this one without a second thought. A novel about the forging of an epic artisanal cheese? Featuring a character who is a Thomas Jefferson reenactor?? ...more
David Slater
Apr 16, 2014 David Slater rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help but read this as an anti-Semitic passion play. A small "American" town (read: Christian) struggling in a world of greed and lies discovers that Life is about the Future, symbolized by Polly. The villain here is Mr. March, inexplicably Jewish, "a spy," an intellectual, a double-talker, a predator and a pedophile, there to rape the innocent Christian Future. The day is saved when the Virgin is saved from the Jew by violence, after which he is expelled from the community.
Ken Yliniemi
Apr 01, 2016 Ken Yliniemi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
his is a very nice read! I enjoyed the setting of a dairy farm in rural Virginia very much for this book. A woman who farms and milks Jersey cows, for her own cheese production and sales faces econonmic difficulties, in today's day and age. With love, tragedy, adventure, and a bit of history all together in a very good read. The author did a great deal of research for the setting of this book, but in light, I still thought it was a bit unrealistic, that anyone can support themselves and family o ...more
Diana E. Young
I picked this book up at a Book Exchange and took a gamble on it since it was a hard-cover book without the slip cover to give any information on what the book was about. It turned out to be a disappointment, but I managed to get through it to the end.

Fortunately, the 2nd half had more substance, but it wasn’t enough to save this book. It is a discombobulated story about a woman who delivered 11 children after fertility drugs. Add in a woman who is about to lose her farm and along the way discov
In honor of Lisa's delicious vacation, I remember fondly a book about artisanal cheese. Yum. there should be many more stories about cheese. Has Wallace and Grommit taught the world nothing? Thomas Jefferson had a mammoth cheese. Andrew Jackson had a mammoth cheese and he let people in to eat it. If a tour of the White House included the chance to take a bite out of a mammoth cheese, I'd be all over it.
Jan 24, 2016 Judith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman and I loved it. I picked up the Mammoth cheese expecting the same sort of wonderful novel. I found this book to be lackluster and quite boring. The plot was tedious and overwritten. The book never drew me in, I never felt like I was in the story. In the end, I just wanted to be done with the book and forget I ever read it
Ann Douglas
Jan 18, 2016 Ann Douglas rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An intriguing, multi-layered novel that paints a portrait of life in very small town America. Features an interesting cast of gloriously imperfect characters -- my favorite kind! My only quibble is that the novel sometimes gets bogged down by detail, causing the story to drag. Still, a very well written novel that made for an entertaining weekend of reading.
May 06, 2008 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Mammoth Cheese came as a loaned book from my male co-worker, which now somewhat suprises me since this book is more than definitely a 'female sort-of' novel.
The storyline of this novel is somewhat fresh and original, however I felt as though the character development lacked and therefore the story did not evolve as successfully as it could have. The author writes to a specific demographic and culture, this book would be well received by middle aged women in the south and southern mid-west. I
Elissa Lawrence
Dec 28, 2014 Elissa Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A small town living in the shadow of its past, this story explores adhering to one's legacy versus creating precedent. The author does a wonderful job of making the characters relatable and tracking their development from beginning to end.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 50 51 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dancers Dancing
  • Hen's Teeth  (Kellen Stewart,  #1)
  • The Leper's Companions
  • One by One in the Darkness
  • Spinsters
  • The Ventriloquist's Tale
  • No Bones
  • The White Family
  • If I Told You Once
  • Fred & Edie
  • Homestead
  • Buddha Da
  • Ice Road
  • A Blessed Event
  • Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living
  • When We Were Bad
  • Billie Morgan
  • Liars and Saints
Sheri Holman graduated from The College of William and Mary in 1988, mastering in Theatre. From there, she became an assistant to a literary agent. In that time, she began to write her first novel, A Stolen Tongue. It was published in 1996. She then went on to write "The Dress Lodger," which was published in 1999. Sheri Holman also wrote "Sondok, Princess of the Moon and Stars," which was publishe ...more
More about Sheri Holman...

Share This Book

“Every four years we go through the same cycle of hope and disillusionment.” 9 likes
“It's the greatest of Southern honors . . . to have one's name incorporated into a family tree. It's an honor not lightly given.” 6 likes
More quotes…