Title: Follow Me
Author: Joanna Scott
Release Date: April 22, 2009
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin’s invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally’s life, it’s an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth of which she entrusts only with her granddaughter and namesake, six decades later. But when young Sally’s father–a man she has never known–enters her life and offers another story altogether, she must uncover the truth of her grandmother’s secret history.
Boldly rendered and beautifully told, in Follow Me Joanna Scott has crafted a paean to the American tradition of re-invention and a sweeping saga of timeless and tender storytelling.
Follow Me was an interesting novel about a woman named Sally Werner. The book spans over sixty years; it starts at Sally’s flight from home at the age of sixteen and covers her lifetime, plus has interludes about her daughter and granddaughter interspersed in between the chapters of Sally’s life.
The story of Follow Me is told from two points of view. Sally’s is the main storyline and takes up most of the novel. The other voice is Sally’s granddaughter, who fills in a lot of the gaps of Sally’s life, as well as what happened after her death. She also corrects some of the information that Sally gives the reader, meaning we often hear one story from two different points of view.
Sally herself is a well-written and engaging character. At first I was worried because I really didn’t like her. She was selfish and felt like she deserved things that she really didn’t. She took advantage of people who were kind to her and, in one instance, lived off of someone’s charity without being appreciative in the last. However, over the course of the book, Sally changes. She begins to realize the importance of gratitude and starts to appreciate other people. She also tries to give back, rather than acting like she deserves tributes from others.
Follow Me is a beautifully written novel. Joanna Scott’s prose is easy to read and incredibly fluid. However, the book is very long for the story contained within its pages; I often found my attention wandering while I was reading it. There wasn’t really a driving force in the novel, nothing to propel the story forward. Also, though Sally grew on me as the novel progressed, I never fully warmed to her character.
Still, Follow Me is a solid read that fans of literary fiction will likely enjoy. Thank you to Miriam at Hachette for sending me this book to review!