Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

Title: The Book of Polly 
Author: Kathy Hepinstall
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: March 14, 2017
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "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 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?"

My Two Cents:

In "The Book of Polly," Willow is a young teenager who is dying to put together the mysteries of her mother's past before she loses her mother, which she constantly fears. Polly had Willow when she was in her late fifties and became a widow soon after. Since her other two kids are grown and out of the house, it is just Polly and Willow. Can Willow figure out Polly's secrets before its too late?

Polly is the kind of character that you remember long after you close a book. She reminds me a lot of some of Fredrik Backman's characters (high praise coming from me). She's eccentric and grumpy. She scolds Willow for doing something naughty or mischievous while paying Willow a dollar for doing the very same thing that she is scolding her for. Being a southern woman, Polly has a very certain way of interacting with the world that is endearing and pretty funny at times. I felt for Willow and thought the author did a great job of showing what a teenager would be going through as the child of the larger-than-life Polly.

The secondary characters in this book are great as well. My favorite is Phoenix, the friend of Willow's brother who is absolutely entranced with Polly and would do anything for her. He causes and eggs on a lot of the madcap adventures in this book.

This is a fun book with a lot of heart and a lot of love under the surface! I really enjoyed it.  


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