February 23, 2007

Tall Pine Polka

Tall Pine Polka by Lorna Landvik
Contemporary Fiction
Quit on 2/7/07
Rating: DNF
2007 TBR Challenge (incomplete)

Book Description

In the small town of Tall Pine, Minnesota, at the Cup O’Delight Cafe, the townsfolk gather for what they call the Tall Pine Polka, an event in which heavenly coffee, good food, and that feeling of being alive among friends inspires both body and soul to dance. There’s the cafe owner, the robust and beautiful Lee O’Leary, who escaped to the northwoods from an abusive husband; Miss Penk and Frau Katt, the town’s only lesbian couple (“Well, we’re za only ones who admit it.”); Pete, proprietor of the Shoe Shack, who spends nights crafting beautiful shoes to present to Lee, along with his declarations of love; Mary, whose bad poetry can clear out the cafe in seconds flat; and, most important of all, Lee’s best friend, Fenny Ness, a smart and sassy twenty-two-year-old going on eighty.

When Hollywood rolls into Tall Pine to shoot a movie, and a handsome musician known as Big Bill appears on the scene, Lee and Fenny find their friendship put to the test, as events push their hearts in unexplored directions—where endings can turn into new beginnings. . .

I suppose everyone's entitled to an off day. Or an off book. After struggling through 116 pages (out of 440), I decided to call it quits. I simply didn't care for the story, and none of the characters appealed to me. If anything, they annoyed me. Not to mention the unrealistic dialogue and ridiculous number of asides. (I know, I know. I'm guilty of that myself.)

I've enjoyed most of Landvik's novels and gave Oh My Stars a perfect A+ rating last spring. Patty Jane's House of Curl, Your Oasis on Flame Lake, and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons are also some of my favorites (the latter of which made my Top Ten for 2004 with a perfect rating of 5/5). But still, I wasn't terribly eager to read this one since I'd heard several negative comments about it and it's been sitting in one of my bookcases for quite a while. When it came time to put together my list for the 2007 TBR Challenge, I thought it was high time to give Tall Pine Polka a chance. Oh, well. One more to take to the used book store next week.


  1. Oh, well, there are too many books out there to waste time on one that doesn't appeal. I just put one down that fell in that category, even though I'd enjoyed previous novels by the author.

  2. It chaps me unmercifully to give up on a book. I can barely admit it to myself, much less to others. It's stupid, but it feels like it's my fault, rather than the author's.

    You've helped me though, Les. I'm getting over it. I owned up to Daisy Fay And The Miracle Man. It's your good influence. Thank you.

  3. Sometimes a book just doesn't hit the spot.

    Your review of MIDDLESEX should be interesting being that I am not in the same camp as you and many others.

  4. Life is too short to read a book you're not enjoying. Hope the next one is better. I've only read one of Landvik's books. I listened to a BOT version of Patty Jane's House of Curl.

  5. I didn't like this one either (but I adored Patty Jane's House of Curl and have re-read it many times). It could have done with a severe edit, just way too long.

  6. You're not having much luck with your TBR list, are you?

    Hope the next one is better.

  7. Jenclair - My thoughts exactly. I used to finished every single book I started, but now I don't hesitate to quit on something that isn't entertaining me. I try to give every book a chance, using the 50-page mark as a goal, but sometimes I just know I won't enjoy the read even after just a few short chapters. And I rarely, if ever, give a book a second chance.

    Bybee - I used to blame myself for not enjoying a book, especially one that has received high praise by those readers' opinions I trust. But not anymore. I really have far too many books I want to read to plow through something just to say I finished it. Of course, this means most of my book reviews rarely fall below the average rating. Glad to be of help to you. ;)

    SuziQ - Exacctly! I think I'm back on track with some good reading material. Lots of good books lined up for March.

    Lazy Cow - I would recommend Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons next then. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    Chris - Ah, well. At least I'm working on it! That's the goal. And my bags for the used book store are filling up (although that means I'll be bringing more books home...).

  8. Joy - Sorry about that. Didn't mean to miss you in my previous commment!

    Ah, I'll be anxious to hear your thoughts on Middlesex then if you didn't like it. I keep thinking it would make a great discussion book.


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