[DWJ] Can someone remind me where the website went?

hschinske at aol.com hschinske at aol.com
Sat Sep 3 16:06:01 EDT 2016

 I'm bothered by the age difference as well. Even by the end of the book it doesn't meet the half-your-age-plus-seven rule, and I generally think of nineteen as way too young to be engaged, *especially* if one's had a complicated childhood leaving one with a lot to figure out, as Polly certainly has. (I mean, my gosh, the daddy issues alone... and her mother's even worse.)

I'm quite fond of Professor Bhaer as well. I expect you've heard my theory that the Jo/Fritz marriage was really intended as a more perfect version of Alcott's parents' marriage, not something she wanted for herself. They were able to run an idealistic school and make a reasonable success of it, for one thing. I have occasionally said that my husband is rather like a cross between Laurie and Professor Bhaer, what with being tall, dark, curly-haired, and musical, but also scholarly-looking, bespectacled, bass-voiced, and possessed of a slightly clumsy German name.

Helen Schinske



-----Original Message-----
From: Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu>
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Sat, Sep 3, 2016 6:10 am
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Can someone remind me where the website went?

I am fascinated by this discussion of students' reactions to the age difference between Tom and Polly.  Murphy's Law will probably decree that the topic does not even come up, but I will let everyone know.

There are only two men in fiction that I ever wanted to marry, and one of them was Professor Bhaer. 

Jameela Lares, Ph.D.
Professor of English
University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001

-----Original Message-----
From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Katarina Hjärpe
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2016 2:17 AM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Can someone remind me where the website went?

I have to admit, I'm one of those readers who get uncomfortable with the Tom and Polly age difference. Not to the point where I can't enjoy the story - on the contrary, I think it's one of DWJ's finest - but definitely to the point where I can't root for them as a couple.

I think part of it is that he is very parental towards her for a lot of the book, at a point where she really needs parenting, too. Yes, she's outgrown that by the end, but I never really got a feeling for them as an adult couple, and so the lingering impression is the early one. It's similar to how I'm uncomfortable with the notion of Wolverine/Rogue in the X-men movie fandom, but not at all uncomfortable with Logan/Max in Dark Angel. The fact that I read the book as an adult - so even 19 year old Polly doesn't seem all that grown up - might make a difference too.

But in fairness, a large part of my impression might be because I read the version with that horrible cover where Tom looks about fifty. And while I do think that cover is flat-out wrong, it's hard to shake it.


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