Following Polly: A NovelFollowing Polly: A Novel by Karen Bergreen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I laughed… I cried… I fell in love with Alice Teakle!


In her debut novel, Karen Bergreen has created a wonderfully plucky heroine one can’t help but fall in love with, Alice Teakle.  Alice is a little bit everywoman.  I mean that in the sense that there is much in Alice that we can all identify with.  Alice isn’t perfect… she has her flaws… doesn’t always show good judgment and sometimes needs pointed out to her when her moral courage is lacking.  Sound like anyone we know?  Really?  Stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself that question.

Following Polly is delightful romp (ewww, I hate that word!) through the world of a girl and her obsessions.  A world this reviewer can identify with to a degree.  I am a writer and a people watcher… okay, sometimes, I follow people too.  Not quite to the degree of Alice to be sure, but…

Karen has written an original, brilliant and totally believable story in which she has drawn characters that are well defined and absolutely believable (am I the only one who squirmed in discomfort at some of the things her characters did, only because I recognized my own behavior?).  And Karen has done it with a humor and verve that make Following Polly one of the most compelling reads I have come across in quite a while.

Sometimes curiosity doesn’t kill the cat… but it will get her 25 to life behind bars and the privilege of being some bull dyke’s plaything.  Unfortunately, Alice doesn’t really consider this when she begins stalking Polly Dawson… a woman who snubbed and took advantage of people like Alice probably from her early days in preschool… Polly is just that kind of person.

Alice first meets Polly in college, where Polly does what Polly does best… and Alice doesn’t forget.  Years later, having just been sacked from a job she didn’t particularly like and a boss she liked even less, Alice’s neuroses and obsession come full bloom when Polly comes back into her life.  And, before her best friend Jean can say “… umm… sweetie, that’s a really bad idea!”… Alice is off!

Unfortunately, for Alice anyway – ‘Polly was a bitch and bitches get their just desserts’ (I’m paraphrasing the author here… *wink*)- things quickly go pear-shaped (it’s a UK idiom… Google it) in Alice’s stalking… err, I mean, following and Polly Dawson turns up dead.  Alice has the extreme bad luck of being the first one to discover the still-warm, but no longer breathing, body.

With all evidence pointing to our plucky heroine, Alice decides that a strategic exit stage right is in order and quickly throws on her invisibility cloak.  Or, would if she had one.  Oh, and something else…

Someone else comes back into Alice’s life as well… will this person turn out to be her savior… or her downfall?

I hate spoilers and I don’t much care for reviews that are little more than chapter and verse synopses of the book, so I will stop here.  I don’t think I’ve revealed anymore than the back cover of the book does.  Anyone who has read my reviews knows I don’t simply write down the plot points.  My goal is to get you to read the book, so I will give you a few little teasers and my take on the story, but if you want to know whodunit or do the ill-fated lovers finally overcome all odds and live happily ever after or is justice truly served… you will have to read the book.

In closing, Karen Bergreen‘s wicked sense of humor truly shines in Following Polly.  This is definitely a must-read and I can recommend it without hesitation.

Thank you, Karen, for a wonderful read.  Even though I bawled through the last twenty pages.  I can’t help it… I’m just a hopeless romantic, I guess.

“I love you, Alice Teakle!”

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Cannon Beach, Oregon
12 August 2012

View all my reviews

About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found at and, and
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  1. Claire Ady says:

    I liked it too. not the most challenging read ever, but I do agree with you that Alice is an everywoman, and a likeable one at that.

    • Thank you for stopping by and for reading my review, Claire. I appreciate it.

      Yes, it is a pretty easy read, but after poring over studies about the impact of social media/networking as it relates to depression in teens for the last several weeks, I really needed a nice, light, fun read!

  2. Diana Keeler says:

    It might be a light read but it’s very smart and highly entertaining. I’d call it a romantic comedy with a high IQ and a mystery that keeps you turning the pages til the very end. Karen Bergreen has another book out right now that’s equally good. It’s called “Perfect is Overrated.” Delicious!

  3. Smart and entertaining… I couldn’t agree more! And while I’m not one for cliches usually… ‘page turner’ is more than apt in describing Following Polly. Karen’s keen wit and sense of humor coupled with her easy writing style (not to say writing Following Polly was easy) make for a perfect blend of romance, intrigue, suspense and comedy.

    I’ve already ordered “Perfect is Overrated” and may just have to ‘bump’ some other books on my summer reading list.

    Thank you for stopping by Diana and reading my review. It is always nice to meet another of Karen’s fans.

    Veronica Marie

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