For readers of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Joshilyn Jackson, and Fannie Flagg, with a touch of Terms of Endearment
A laugh-out-loud funny yet poignant novel about a daughter determined not only to keep her mother among the living but to find out the secrets of her long-buried past
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 shoot 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 her bigger-than-life mom, Polly.
Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and Polly has her own secrets that she won't reveal. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return after a mysterious and terrible incident? 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 closely guarded past and a final trip back to Bethel that will end with them, like Huck Finn, riding a river raft back home?
THE BOOK OF POLLY has a kick like the best hot sauce, and 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.
Hepinstall's 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 MacLaine's Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias. Instead, it's full of laughter and warmth and sadness. The Walgreens-working widow who must not suffer fools at all is modeled on the author's mother, a Louisiana native. Is Polly who tries to kill all the varmints destroying her garden, yet painstakingly nurses an orphaned squirrel she names Elmer a 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 son's 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, Willow's steadfast friend Dalton, and a Bible-thumping faith healer.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book of Polly
Fantastic book! Loved it!
The Book of Polly
I loved this book, funny, sad and everything in between! Great read!
The Book of Polly
A compulsive read.