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