-If you ever pined for a mother who would take a hunting falcon as her wingman to a parent-teacher conference, Polly is the gal for you. Read more...
-If you ever pined for a mother who would take a hunting falcon as her wingman to a parent-teacher conference, Polly is the gal for you. Delicious.- --Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama
Willow Havens is ten years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to chase varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors--and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she's here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow's father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It's just her and bigger-than-life Polly.
Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and especially Polly's life pre-Willow. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?
The Book of Polly has a great blend of humor and sadness, pathos and hilarity. This is a bittersweet novel about the grip of love in a truly quirky family and you'll come to know one of the most unforgettable mother-daughter duos you've ever met.
- ISBN-13: 9780399562099
- ISBN-10: 0399562095
- Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 336
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Hepinstalls Southern coming-of-age novel, about a girl who worries that her 68-year-old, Virginia Slims-smoking mother will die from cancer, could easily have been a TLC reality series caricature, with Polly Havens a hybrid of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies and Shirley MacLaines Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias. Instead, its full of laughter and warmth and sadness. The Walgreens-working widow who must not suffer fools at all is modeled on the authors mother, a Louisiana native. Is Pollywho tries to kill all the varmints destroying her garden, yet painstakingly nurses an orphaned squirrel she names Elmera bigger handful than her 10-year-old daughter Willow, who tells whoppers about her mother so she remains larger than life, too big for the Bear (aka cancer) to take down? The girl, as clever and smart-mouthed as her mother, narrates through age 16 and never loses pitch. Polly stays true to her cantankerous self, refusing to divulge her secrets to her daughter, and Phoenix Calhoun, her adult sons high school friend, acts the righteous dude as he watches over the two women. This is a warm and fresh tale, made so by characters as varied as the evil Montessori-schooled twins next door, Willows steadfast friend Dalton, and a Bible-thumping faith healer. (Mar.)