Polly: A Novel

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But which of his 50 novels to choose? The Sleeper Awakes a far-sighted portrait of a world enslaved by money and machines? Love and Mr Lewisham the tale of a schoolteacher who becomes a socialist but subordinates politics to family life?

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Tono-Bungay a brilliant satire on advertising and the popular press? Kipps a Dickensian comedy about one ordinary man's struggle for self-improvement? Wells's fans will have their favourites. But I have chosen The History of Mr Polly , a novel from Wells's early middle age he wrote it when he was 44 , a delightful comedy of everyday Edwardian England that draws inspiration from its author's own life.

Moreover, as Wells put it in the preface to "the Atlantic Edition" of , "a small but influential group of critics maintain that The History of Mr Polly is the writer's best book". If he could not quite accept that, he said, he would still concede that "certainly it is his happiest book, and the one he cares for most".

The Book of Polly A Novel

I've always liked it I've never been much of a sci-fi enthusiast because it is, in many ways, so un-Wellsian. The story — still strikingly modern — is a comedy about a midlife crisis. Alfred Polly has a routine job as a gentlemen's outfitter in the small, provincial town of Fishbourne, a location widely agreed to be modelled on Sandgate in Kent, where Wells himself lived for several years. The tone is established at the outset: "He hated Fishbourne, he hated his shop and his wife and his neighbours.

My only major dislike about The Book of Polly is that there is a dark specter of violence lurking in the background throughout the novel.

Being someone who prefers not to read novels peppered with violence, I only mention this because, while mostly suggested, the violence seemed gratuitous at times and never really enhanced the narrative. This is perhaps the only reason I didn't give the novel 5 stars. Otherwise, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a Southern, coming of age novel written by a seasoned author. And I had told some lies-and even worse, some truths-about my mother to my classmates. In my defense, she was great fodder, and this was years before she killed our neighbor. Never knowing her father and not really knowing her much older siblings, Willow is terrified Virginia Slims-smoking, margarita-aficionado Polly will die before Willow can get to know her "It ruined the feel of guinea-pig fur and the crunchiness of popcorn" , leaving Willow unmoored in the world.

Feeling cheated of her family and pressed for time, Willow is obsessed with learning Polly's secrets "The story was a blank stare and I wanted it to blink". And Polly, having escaped her past in the swamps of Louisiana, does have secrets. The Book of Polly: A Novel is Kathy Hepinstall's smart, clever, sardonically hilarious, and moving story of the relationship between a mother and a daughter. A woman graces the cover of The Book of Polly wearing a strawberry-red skirt suit reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, with impeccable hair and makeup, holding a garden trowel, a falcon perched on her shoulder.

That's right, I said a falcon; all will become clear. The Book of Polly proceeds at a steady pace, not cluttered up with extraneous storylines. Hepinstall's word choice is precise, her phrasing often a delightful surprise "In my mind the worst-case scenario loped along like a runaway spaniel, leash trailing, enjoying its freedom and eluding all pursuers". Hepinstall's characters are quirky and complex; Polly is a bundle of inexplicable contradictions, like most of us, but mysteriously so to a child. It doesn't help that Polly and Willow are a lot alike.

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Newton & Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace

Willow's first-person narration, reflecting the imperfect understanding of a child, lends to the mystery. Hepinstall's dialogue will have you laughing aloud. Here Polly and Willow are discussing a dinner party during which Polly will try to charm the neighbors into helping pay for their shared backyard fence: "Jesus says in the Bible to make friends with your enemies and turn the other cheek and really try the nice way first to get them to go in on a fence.

It had slid inside my training bra and made my breasts grow," Willow says. It was, at this very moment, under my mother's scarf, pulling up hairs like garden weeds. Note that Shirley MacLaine starred in both movies. Y'all go hug your mothers. Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life. After the death of her husband, Polly in her late fifties finds herself pregnant. A last, unexpected gift from her late husband, and so Willow is born. In their small Texas town, Polly is much older than the other mothers, a fact that makes Polly fearful. At the age of ten, Willow begins to fear for her mother's health, and also becomes aware that Polly has some big secrets.

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Why for instance hasn't Polly ever gone back to her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana? So she begins to snoop and here the story begins. I fell in love with this author when I read her book [book:Blue Asylum ], and though this is not historical, it is Southern and full of charm, humor and yes, heartbreak.

It is a jumble of all things that make a novel fun, though there is a matter of serious concern, when the bear come to visit. Polly is a fantastic character, already raises two older children and now a mother of a young daughter, she is full of spit and vinegar.

The Book of Polly: A Novel by Kathy Hepinstall | LibraryThing

Doesn't suffer fools gladly, but fiercely protective of Willow. Born again Christians, faith healers, a raft trip and a rather neurotic dog, some great supporting characters and chock full of family, caring and love. Love the ending though I did find parts of it a bit schmaltzy.

So she begins to snoop and here the sto After the death of her husband, Polly in her late fifties finds herself pregnant. So she begins to snoop and here the story begins. I fell in love with this author when I read her book Blue Asylum , and though this is not historical, it is Southern and full of charm, humor and yes, heartbreak. It is a jumble of all things that make a novel fun, though there is a matter of serious concern, when the bear come to visit. Polly is a fantastic character, already raises two older children and now a mother of a young daughter, she is full of spit and vinegar.

Doesn't suffer fools gladly, but fiercely protective of Willow. Born again Christians, faith healers, a raft trip and a rather neurotic dog, some great supporting characters and chock full of family, caring and love. Love the ending though I did find parts of it a bit schmaltzy. ARC from publisher. Publishes March 14th from Pamela Dorman. View all 17 comments.

Nov 21, Angela M rated it liked it. I had a feeling it would be a little sentimental and It was. It was a quick, entertaining story with a mix of humor and seriousness. Polly Havens is bold, irreverent and overbearing, almost a caricature of the seemingly mean lady next door who really has a good heart.

The story is narrated by her daughter Willow, who is 10 years old when the story begins and moves us through the next five years. Wi I had a feeling it would be a little sentimental and It was. She was so much older than the other mothers, and I was determined to make her bigger than life so that she would never die.

What had happened before she met my father? Something that made her want to never return to her hometown in Louisiana. It was a sweet, southern story and it was what I needed after reading a very heavy and sad book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. View all 8 comments.