Following Polly: A Novel

Following Polly: A Novel

4.5 13
by Karen Bergreen

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Would you call Alice Teakle a stalker?  Or just someone with an, um, healthy obsession with golden girl Polly Linley Dawson?  No one much notices Alice: not her boss, not the neighbors, not even her Mother.

Besides, everyone follows Polly: her business selling high-end lingerie you can imagine only her elegant self wearing, her


Would you call Alice Teakle a stalker?  Or just someone with an, um, healthy obsession with golden girl Polly Linley Dawson?  No one much notices Alice: not her boss, not the neighbors, not even her Mother.

Besides, everyone follows Polly: her business selling high-end lingerie you can imagine only her elegant self wearing, her all-over-the-social-pages marriage to movie director Humphrey Dawson, her chic looks, her wardrobe. Alice just follows her a little more….closely.

And when she loses her job and starts to follow Polly Dawson one Manhattan autumn afternoon, Alice stumbles on the object of her attention sprawled dead on the floor of a boutique.  Alice is forced to become truly beneath anyone’s notice. Invisible, in fact. Because she’s accused of murder.

But can another obsession help save Alice with the fallout?  Charlie is Alice’s longtime unattainable crush.  He might be able to help her out of the mess she’s in…in return for a favor or two, that is.    And how will Alice find out if Charlie is really the man Alice thinks he is?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s like Comedy Central picked up Law & Order for an episode in standup comic and ex-lawyer Bergreen’s breezy debut about a rootless, jobless, and loveless snoop in search of her “lifelong dream.“ Fired from a crappy job with a selfish, nasty casting director, Alice Teakle begins obsessively stalking Harvard frenemy Polly—and winds up the top suspect in her murder. But that’s where the fun begins: slipping out of police custody, Alice begins stalking Charlie, her college-days romantic fantasy who she hopes can save her from prison. Charlie takes her in, forging a deal that he’ll help get her off the murder hook if she helps out with a problem his father’s having. But Charlie and Alice sweetly discover a far deeper need of each other. Bergreen makes good use of her comedic skills and varied professional background to create a sharp whodunit that combines edgy thrills with a wicked sense of humor and an endearing heart of gold. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
In her debut as a novelist, Bergreen attempts a comic murder mystery cum romance about a young woman who comes under suspicion when the semi-celebrity she's been stalking is murdered. Despite her Harvard pedigree, her great looks and a pitch-perfect memory for details that would make her an ideal private eye, 32-year-old Manhattanite Alice is a self-proclaimed sad sack without professional ambition or a love life-she has had a crush on a man she's called Charlie since college even though he doesn't know she exists. Within hours after Alice is fired from her latest job, she begins to follow Polly, a woman she has hated and envied since their student days. Always the golden girl, as well as stereotypical mean girl, Polly is now married to a famous movie director and heads her own wildly successful lingerie company. For weeks Alice trails Polly to various appointments, some obviously trysts, and finally into a boutique dressing room where she finds Polly's dead body. Soon Alice is a suspect on the lam. In desperation she turns to Charlie (real name Walter) whom she has seen in a restaurant talking to one of the policemen on her trail. A lawyer, Charlie/Walter has been trying to clear his father's name after a scandal. With his legal and her instigative skills, they work together to prove that both innocent parties are blameless. It's no surprise when romance blooms. Meanwhile, the murderer strikes again, killing Alice's former boss, a casting director deeply involved in the movie Polly's husband has been directing. The author loads her story with a jarring mix of comic and melodramatic details, from Alice's blind date with Walter/Charlie's father to her life among the homeless to the dated, bordering on homophobic, motive given to the murderer. Although Bergreen is a professional comedian, the humor falls flat while the mystery lacks punch because neither the characters nor the author seem to take it seriously.

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St. Martin's Press
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Meet the Author

KAREN BERGREEN is a comedian who performs live at Caroline’s, Stand-Up New York, Gotham, and The Comic Strip and has appeared on Comedy Central, the Oxygen Network and Law & Order. She was previously an attorney who clerked for a federal judge. She lives in New York City.

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Following Polly 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
This book was a great summer read. I started it while on vacation and finished reading it in the car on the way home. Normally I can only read for a little while in the car, before I either get restless or a headache - but not with this book - I read it right through to the end of the book! Alice has lost her job and is just sort of floating, not really sure where she wants to land, when she sees Polly Dawson. Polly is sort of her long-time nemesis from college - the one who always had everything, perfect looks, perfect clothes, perfect life, etc, so she decides to follow her. Before she knows it, it has become an everyday obsession. She probably knows more about where Polly goes than even her husband! And Polly never notices her. Unfortunately, it seems someone else has and she becomes framed for Polly's murder. Alice goes into hiding, sort of. She camps outside of her college crush's apartment (he is/was a lawyer). He eventually confronts her, not remembering her from college, and for some reason believes her story and takes her in. He has his own ulterior motives for helping her. There are a couple of mysteries happening - first off is the obvious - who killed Polly and framed Alice - and the second is what's up with Charlie's father and will Alice be able to help Charlie find out the truth? There is alot of humor in this story. It is kind of a dry humor in face of the dire situation that Alice is facing. I especially liked this part - Alice has asked that Charlie get in touch with her best friend, Jean, to let her know that she is okay. "Hi, Jean. I don't know if you remember me. My name is Walter Redwin. We went to Harvard Law School together." Jean pauses for a second. I know that she's dying to get in touch with me to tell me that my Charlie called her. This is where Charlie's part gets tricky. "You may know me as Charlie." Now, I know you may be wondering how I managed to get Charlie to identify himself by his crush-name. "Just introduce yourself to her on the phone," I instructed him casually just minutes ago. "And then tell her that she may know you as Charlie." "Why Charlie?" "Oh, it's this thing with me and Jean." "What kind of thing?" A thing where I made up a name for you when I decided to become obsessed with you. "I promise I will tell you the second I get out of trouble." Curiosity is a great motivator. (p148-149, Following Polly) Now maybe you need to read more of the story to appreciate it, but Alice's character is definitely quirky. But it is a good quirky. During the story you get to see her grow and to embrace who she really is. There are a couple of twists at the end, but one I definitely did not see coming. The book wrapped up nicely. I will definitely be watching for another book by Karen Bergreen.
Hayyan More than 1 year ago
Karen Bergreen's first novel, Following Polly, is a fun, fun, fun read! The affable main character, Alice Teakle, is like an American Bridgette Jone's - stealthily stumbling from following to stalking to running and beyond - with the best friends a girl could have and her own unique look at life. A quirky chick lit novel with a mystery twist thrown in - highly recommended for passing time in an enjoyable way!
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
First let me give a shoutout to LibraryThing - this was my very first Early Reviewers win. The cover is...well I guess vibrant is the word that comes to mind. I really wanted to read it based on that alone. Honest, I didn't have a clue what it was about. The story starts with Alice just after she got fired as from her job working with a Casting director Mona Hawkins - who was a horrible human being. She stops to get some comfort food and runs into a woman she knew in college - Polly Dawson. Polly is now married to the Director of the movie Alice was helping Mona cast. Polly doesn't notice Alice, as if she were invisible. Alice starts following Polly, mostly nosy and something to do. Things take a turn when Polly turns up dead and Alice is the #1 suspect. She goes into hiding and starts stalking Charlie, another person she knew from college - this one she had a crush on. Charlie discovers her, invites her into his home and life. He will help her clear her name, and she will help clear his father. There are a couple of mysteries in this book, and they keep you guessing right until the end. The characters are lively and realistic. I love how Karen Begreen describes Charlie's house with the clutter...and that Alice finds it endearing. I also enjoyed Alice's tv habit...finally, not pretending that we don't all watch way too much tv. lol I couldn't put this down, so if you can get a copy to read for yourself. It's in hardcover and e-versions right now, but it will be released in paperback on August 16. Happy reading!
mamie316 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this novel. It's written with such intelligence, wit and humor. If you walk away from this book without loving Alice Treakle, you probably have no heart. I was rooting for her through every page, even in her weird, stalky days. And Alice and Charlie have got to be one of the cutest couples in a book in a long time. Do yourself a favor and get this book, you won't be sorry.
bethieg More than 1 year ago
it started a bit slowly, but i got really involved. it was a great rainy-day read, i really enjoyed the offbeat plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alice is an endearing character, reminiscent of a noncynical Holden Caulfield. She feels much younger than her age, but then we get to see her grow up. I read this book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to the next novel by this author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got this book at dollar store - what a bargain! It is funny and original and a quick read. I highly recommend it!
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