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

Joe Nankivell oddenda at gmail.com
Mon Sep 5 17:37:19 EDT 2016


I think they're a great couple and the age difference doesn't interest me
much. But are they 'engaged' at the end of the book? It's much more
tentative than that. Tom says 'I want to keep seeing you. I always wanted
to keep seeing you.' Then he says, 'It may not work out—between us. But I
want to try. At least I can ask now.' Polly reflects and hope begins to
well up: 'She thought of all the things Tom might have said—which Seb
*would* have said—just now to change her mind. It was the things not said
that showed they might have a great deal in common.' They do have loads in
common and a mutual need for each other (not to mention respect, the main
thing IMO) that surely transcends the age gap. The comparison with Seb is
illuminating: he's closer to her age, but abusive, manipulative, conniving,
selfish. Also immature. True about Polly's complicated childhood Helen, but
if we waited for such things to get resolved before hitching up no-one ever
would!

Joe


[A great discussion btw which has introduced me to a new way to read this
book, starting with the final chapter and then rereading from the
beginning.]


On 5 September 2016 at 21:39, Elizabeth Bentley <ebsln at icloud.com> wrote:

> Speaking as someone whose daughter got engaged to someone aged 38 when she
> was 21, so a larger gap than between Tom and Polly, I don’t think I feel
> this is so extraordinary, though I admit to having had slight worries at
> the time.
>
> I certainly never felt it to be an issue when reading the book.
>
> Elizabeth
>
> > On 3 Sep 2016, at 21:06, hschinske--- via Dwj <dwj at suberic.net> wrote:
> >
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Katarina
> >
> >
> >
>
> -----------------------
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