Book Review: Meet Me in the In-Between by Bella Pollen

05.30.2017

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @zaralibrary

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Category: Biographies & Memoirs

Author: Bella Pollen

Format: E-book via NetGalley, 336 pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2658-0

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

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Summary from Publisher:

Growing up the middle child of transatlantic parents—her English Rose mother and cowboy boot-loving father—Bella Pollen never quite figured out how to belong. Restlessly crossing back and forth between the boundaries of family and freedom, England and America, home and away, she has sought but generally failed to contain an adventurous spirit within the confines of conventional living.

When she awakes one morning in an existential panic, Pollen grudgingly concludes that in order to move forward, she needs to take a good look at her past. In Meet Me in the In-Between, Pollen takes us on the uproarious journey of a life, from her privileged, unorthodox childhood in Upper Manhattan through early marriage to a son of an alluring Mafioso, to the dusty border towns of Mexico where she embarks on a border crossing with some Pink Floyd-loving smugglers. Throughout all, Bella grapples intently with relationships, motherhood, career ups and downs, and a pathological fear of being boxed in.

Interwoven with exquisite original illustrations by the award-winning Kate Boxer, this is a tender, funny, and poignantly honest story of one woman’s quest to keep looking for the extraordinary in an ordinary life. Reminiscent of Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and Pam Houston’s Cowboys are my Weakness, novelist Bella Pollen has created an endearingly naughty and intoxicatingly humorous, dead-on look at what it means to be a modern woman.

  • From NetGalley

Book Review:

While it can be difficult to review a memoir or a biography because it’s written in the context of someone’s personal life and experiences, rather than fiction, a memoir or biography can be entertaining as fiction, if written well, and gives its readers the opportunity to know the writer better, both in the events he or she shares about her his or her life, or how he or she perceives them in the way the author writes.

Bella Pollen’s biography, Meet Me in the In-Between, shares the oddities of herself and her family, right from a supposed incubus, a male demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women, to a drunken South American caique whose reactions to an black afro wig reveals him to be a white supremacist.

And that’s only the beginning of the book!

While these stories in of themselves are odd, almost seemingly fictional, and seem entertaining enough to incur a raised eyebrow of interest; the writing style of the narrative, while not necessarily poorly written, are distracting enough because the writing seems over-written.

Pollen, however, is quick in her sarcasm and wit, her agility in name-calling and comparisons, as well as her blunt insights, which tend to tumble out is great spurts, easily classifying her as a troublemaker, of which the author seems easily proud.

Even the description of her mafia-style husband and family is painted with almost deliberate animation and volume.

The accompanying illustrations in the book, too, add a welcome aesthetic and a window to the author’s canny imagination.

If you have time to read a 336-page memoir of the crazy antics in the life of a woman whose writing is both wacky and stream-of-consciousness, then this book is for you.  

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Characters: 3 stars

Plot: 3 stars

Language/Narrative: 3 stars

Dialogue: 3 stars

Pacing: 3 stars

Cover Design: 3 stars

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thanks to Grove Atlantic for providing me with an e-copy of the book, Meet Me in the In-Between by Bella Pollen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and timely review.

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About the Author:

author - bella pollen

Raised in New York , Bella Pollen is a writer and journalist who has contributed to a variety of publications, including Uk and American Vogue, The Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Observer.

Author of five previous novels, including the best selling Hunting Unicorns and critically acclaimed Summer of the Bear, Pollen has tackled a broad spectrum of subjects from Cold War intrigue to decline of the British Aristocracy to the immigration issues of the US/Mexican Border.

With Meet Me in the In-Between, an illustrated memoir, Pollen takes us on her illuminating, funny and often painful quest to keep looking for the extraordinary in an ordinary life.

Pollen divides her time between London and the American mid-west.

  • From Goodreads

Links:

You can connect with Bella Pollen on her official website, on Twitter, and Goodreads.

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Zara

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