Polly by Amy Bryant

Everytime I think “Polly”, my mind would chime in, “…has a cracker…”; at first I thought that it was just that I have Nirvana in mind. Then I found out that the character of this book was really named after the song.

Polly’s first person narration is sparse and sarcastic and just a little disconnected for me. I felt that even though I’m reading a first-person narrative, it was hard to really get into her character at first. The story is told in eight chapters, each titled after (and is focused on) a different boy in her life. I find it interesting as a storytelling device, but also slightly irritating. I like Polly. If I knew her in person, I would think she’s really cool. Someone I’d love to be friends with. She seems sarcastic and fun, and she listen to cool music, and spends her time going to hardcore shows and still maintains a good GPA. You gotta respect that. When she says that she goes almost in a trance when she does math, I find myself wishing I knew her. And yet, like some of my friends from high school and college that seemed really independent and cool at first (none of these friends excel academically, however… they consider it “uncool” and “goody goody”), she turns out to be really dependent on the boys in her life. She measures her life on the guys she dates. This is a coming-of-age story, but I sense more confusion regarding boys and sex rather than on her own identity.
I like Polly Clark, despite being slightly disappointed in her. She might not be the strong protagonist I was hoping for, but she does have character. Lots of it. She does come into her own in the end, so that’s pretty cool. She survived the self-destructive relationships and emotionally unavailable parents. She still uses music as an escape, but she also found art as a medium to express herself more constructively than “drugs, sex, & rock and roll”. Overall, I guess I’d say that it’s an okay read.
My copy: borrowed
~ originally posted on blogspot

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