on February 23, 2013
This review can also be seen at topoftheheapreviews(top)com
After reading and reviewing Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor I got the opportunity to review another of Stephen Goldin’s books. When perusing through his catalog I came across Polly! There was just something about this cover. It was the newer cover. A beautiful twenty-something girl looking directly at you with a look of compassion and love, with the whole world in her hand. I didn’t really care what the book was about, the cover just drew me in and made me want to read it.
So was what was beneath the cover as compelling and interesting as the image on front? In a word. YES!
Rod is a guy down on his luck. His wife left, his store burnt down, his apartment burnt down, the IRS is on him for around eight-grand, and his car broke down in the desert. Right in front of a mansion with a snowman in the front.
Yep. A Snowman. Made of real snow. In the desert. Thank that’s odd? Well just wait until you meet Polly!
Polly meets Rod – or Herodotus – and tells him to come inside and she’ll have her guys take care of his car, it’s been afflicted by a burst of xeron radiation, which is why it broke down. That’s what Polly said anyway.
So he goes inside, and the house is of course much larger on the inside than on the outside, and it seems she’s hosting a party. While Polly goes and gets a few things done he talks and mingles with some of the guests. They tell him about their problems and how Polly was there for them in their time of need. Each problem much worse than what his was. So when he states his problems, they just don’t seem like they aren’t that big of a deal. His quest now is to find out who, or what Polly is.
He begins to start feeling like Polly is God, or a God. But she doesn’t really say anything about it. She doesn’t deny it, but doesn’t say she is either. She says that she’s just a fighter of entropy. She helps a group of protesters, teaches adult literacy classes, visits children with leukemia, all while leading Hero (as Polly calls him), on a journey to really find out what is important to him, and what kind of person he is.
Herodotus keeps pressing her about the universe and what’s the point, almost insisting that she is God. And with each turn she talks about religion now, and in history, and why in the world would the creator of the universe need validation from some nobody on a small planet in the middle of nowhere?
The whole series of events that transpires is blasphemous, it takes on all religions, it spares no ones feelings. But it’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever read. The way Stephen Goldin crafts this book is so masterful, that in between the very sharp dialogue there is a much much deeper meaning, and will make you stop to think about your own life.
That’s the thing about a well crafted book. It will be entertaining, and fun, but it will challenge the way you may look at things, or at the very least make you look internally at the type of person you are. Now, those that are hardcore Catholic, or Christian, or Jewish, or any other religion might find pause to put this book down, and write it off. Who is Stephen Goldin to say that my prayers aren’t being heard, or that Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross wasn’t really a sacrifice? But don’t drop it just yet!
The journey is one of self-discovery. Asking the hard questions, and dealing with the answers that you might not want to hear.
All in all, this 150 page book is jam packed with witty dialogue, and well thought out statements on theology and religion. Not only from the past, but from where we are today as a culture. From all the dialogue and actions, I actually get the feeling that Polly, is actually short for Polytheism. She mentions on more than one occasion that Herodotus is named for one of the Greek Gods, and eludes to her being just one of many….if she is one.
But above all, she speaks of hope. She speaks of how the problems can’t all be solved, but you can do the best you can. And nothing is ever hopeless.
It’s a fantasy novel that…well, it’s a comedy that…hmmm….this book isn’t really easy to define, but it’s fantastic.
I didn’t want this book to end. I felt that when I put this down, I lost a friend in Polly. I enjoyed my time with her so much, I stopped reading it, just so I had another day with her. So it seems that Polly not only touches the people written between the cover of the book, but also the people on the outside looking in.
This book reaches the top twenty list for me, and comes highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommended by me.