Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the story of one man's mid life crisis
Wells' anatomy of Mr Polly reflects what many people experience in their lives, hopes dashed, frustration and the stupidity and petty inequalities of life but leavened with an underlying hope in a better future and a categorical rejection of the sort of mainstream values that might best be termed "keeping up with the Jones'". Beautifully written reflecting the values of...
Published on 25 Jun 2009 by Dr. John Carter

versus
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pulling off the blinkers of circumstance
The History of Mr Polly tells the story of the almost accidental life that the eponymous hero pretty much stumbles through, until, facing bankruptcy, he decides to take some drastic measures. Beginning with his nadir, the first third of the book is taken up with describing how he got there, the second third with what he then decides to do, and the final third with the...
Published on 23 Jan 2005 by Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the story of one man's mid life crisis, 25 Jun 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
Wells' anatomy of Mr Polly reflects what many people experience in their lives, hopes dashed, frustration and the stupidity and petty inequalities of life but leavened with an underlying hope in a better future and a categorical rejection of the sort of mainstream values that might best be termed "keeping up with the Jones'". Beautifully written reflecting the values of English society at that time but also a manifesto for personal change.

It remains vital and relevant today because the underlying themes Wells identifies such as feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage, dislike of your job, and constrained by circumstance remain common today, what is so liberating about Mr Polly is his clumsy, but ultimately successful attempts to change his life
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape from the Edwardian Rat Race, 27 Aug 2003
For those who, like me, were always put off HG Wells through a mistaken belief that he was a science fiction writer, The History of Mr Polly may well come as a pleasant surprise.
The book is the reassuring tale of one mans eventful stumble toward utopia, which should offer hope to fretful drifters the world over.
Three quarters of the book chronicles the painfully comic descent of Mr Polly from youthful apprentice in a leading department store to the middle aged, unhappily married and bankrupt-in-all-but-name owner of a regional gentlemans outfitters. Mr Polly manages to gain weight, while his hair recedes and number of friends dwindle. Polly retreats behind the pages of his beloved books, until he finally decides to put an end to his increasingly miserable existence. This is the turning point of Mr Polly's life. He comes out of the botched attempt a hero, yet rejects his previous life and goes off in search of a new one. This Mr Polly finds.
Although the tone of the novel is definitely black this book should definitely leave you feeling good about yourself. It offers hope that a happy life is out there for everyone and that it is never too late to go out and find it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 20th Century libertine breaks free, 24 Oct 2011
By 
Caterkiller (Darlington, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
Anyone who is familiar with Philip Larkin's poem "Self's the Man" will know what to expect here. A man trapped in a marriage to a woman he barely cared for in the first place, a failing business, and no friends or neighbours to speak of. This is the first non-sci fi novel by HG Wells I have read and it is a treat. Essential reading for any married man who now considers a weekend trip to IKEA as "a day out".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly contemporary novel, 5 May 2006
By 
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
Not being a fan of science fiction, I had never troubled to read anything by Wells before. However I picked this book up and found myself unable to put it down. The core themes (mid-life crisis and career break, bridging the gap between romantic ideals and the humdrum nature of marriage) seemed to me even more relevant to 21st century living than to when Wells was writing. The characters were well drawn, the style fluent and poetic and Polly's (Wells'?) sense of humour suited me down to the ground! Definitely a book to return to.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wells at his best, 4 Jun 2010
By 
Mr. Ross Maynard (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
"The History of Mr Polly" is probably Well's best romance (i.e. not science fiction). It is gentle, whimsical and charming throughout. The early part of the book has many similarities with "Kipps" (published five years earlier) but soon diverges in its approach. The book is written with a very light touch and Wells doesn't try to push his social and political views as he does in later books. That said, part of the purpose of the book seems to be to make it acceptable that a man should leave his wife if the marriage is unhappy. This is something Wells himself did in 1894. In the book Wells makes this abandonment easy - the marriage is clearly a disaster; there are no children; and Wells makes it clear that Polly's wife is thriving without him at the end. The book does lack plot, being more of a series of humorous events, and some of these are very funny - for example, how Mr Polly talks himself into a marriage proposal; his wedding itself is hilarious; and his fall-outs with fellow shopkeepers are also fun. Overall it is a charming and fun book. A light read and an opportunity to read HG Wells on his finest form.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tubby shop-keeper or Terrorist?, 12 May 2009
By 
Alun Williams "mathematician manqué" (Peterborough,England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
This odd but interesting novel,first published in 1910, is a humorous (im)morality tale. Mr Polly is a man who has let life happen to him. Now middle-aged, he feels trapped by his wife's poor housekeeping and his own failing business. The first two thirds of the book detail how he gets to that state. In the last part of the book he breaks free of convention (burning down half the town yet becoming a hero in the process) and finds a new idyllic way of life, though one which he cannot keep unless he wins a testing battle against a dangerous new enemy.

This new Penguin Classic has an introduction with many biographical details, and notes at the end. The latter are mostly useful, though perhaps not always authoritative and sometimes fairly obvious: Mr Polly regularly mangles the English language, and uses many idioms that were current at the time but have fallen into disuse.

Although I quite liked the book I found the humour and Mr Polly's malapropisms a little feeble at times. But the central messages of the book - that you shouldn't drift through life, and that you can change things if you are sufficiently determined are both worth remembering.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a cycling holiday, 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This great novel gives a fantastic account of rural Enland in the early 19th century, the list given of his jobs and chores at a countryside inn is spellbinding. I imagine Wells wanted it to be long and comprehensive to show what a busy chap Mr Polly would be, today it reads like an evocation of lost arts and crafts. i wonder if anyone still does any of the repair jobs on machinery and buildings. Plus, they look very tiring, or extremeliciously fatigatious as Mr Polly might have said, his use of language an neologisms being a glorious additition to the book and dialogue.
He is not an all round good egg by any means, but you can't help but like him. His joy at finding people who listen to him and enjoy his books is infectious through the pages and reminds me of the end of Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square when the principal character is appreciated for once due to his good nature and conversation. While he has his darker side he is one of the great fictional creations.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The History of Mr. Polly, 26 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The History of Mr. Polly is the book I would take to my desert island. Not one word is wasted. It is by far the best book H.G.Wells wrote. I even suspect he may have been copying Charles Dicken's style.
The Thomas Nelson and Sons edition that I bought on Amazon is a quality hardback that I shall treasure. Steve H
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, 26 Sep 2011
By 
John Donaldson (Geneva, Switzerland.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The History of Mr. Polly (Paperback)
I had to read this many years ago in an Eng. Lit. course - I wanted to re-read it - and I was pleasantly surprised. A comfortable and thoughtful Wells, echoes from a bygone time in England.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable little volume, quite whimsical., 24 Jan 2001
By 
uncle barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
After 100 years or so I wasn't too sure about this book but thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr Polly is sometimes annoying but always loveable. Read it, I found it quite refreshing - surprisingly, more so than the Time Machine.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The History of Mr. Polly
The History of Mr. Polly by John Sutherland (Paperback - 31 Mar 2005)
£6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews