The Book of Polly

  • by Kathy Hepinstall
  • Narrated by Jenna Lamia
  • 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With a kick like the best hot sauce, this is the laugh-out-loud story of a girl determined to keep up with her aging, crazy-as-a-fox mother.
Willow Havens is 10 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 50s 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, 50 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.


What the Critics Say

"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)
"Narrator Jenna Lamia is just terrific as the outspoken Willow. She completely immerses herself in the child's perception and descriptions of Polly's life. When Polly takes over, Lamia is utterly convincing, showing her to be irreverent, outspoken, and cantankerous, with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a fondness for margaritas.... This story could have been sickeningly sweet, but Kathy Hepinstall's writing is crisp and never sentimental, and Lamia's character portraits are honest and engaging. Wonderful listening." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The incredible Jenna Lamia!

I always choose my next audio book based on the narrators. Maybe that's not always the best thing to do, but, for me, if the narrator is bad, the book goes back! We all have our favorites, and Jenna Lamia is one of mine. She brings the story to life with the southern elegance of a summer night in Georgia.
This was my first book by Kathy Hepinstall, but will not be my last. The story kept my attention throughout, and never became boring. Each character had their distinct personality, which the reader comes to know and understand over time.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves the comfort of a southern drawl, and a warm and funny summer read.
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- Mary Smiroldo

Great writing, characters, story, & audio narrator

It took me about 2 hours to get into the story itself because until then it felt like a very well-written character study, but I kept listening because it was enough to keep me engaged. Once events started to happen, I was absorbed in it. Yes, one must suspend disbelief, but the writing is so strong—whenever I run into non-cliché, beautiful and interesting similes, metaphors, figurative language, etc., I’m happy—the characters so quirky, that it was a wonderful listen. I can always count on Lamia to deliver as the audio narrator.
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- NMwritergal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-14-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio