Monday, January 14, 2008



Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 393
Reason for Reading : Reading Challenge with Nymeth, Mythopoeic Award Challenge

Polly is 19 when she picks up a copy of "Times of out Mind" edited by L Perry which has a cover reminding her of her Fire and Hemlock photograph. Looking through the short stories in the book she feels like it should have a different title and one the stories is missing. When she looks around her room other things seem to be missing too, like the photograph she stole, so she casts her memory back to nearly 9 years ago to the night she first met Tom Lynne at a funeral she accidentally gatecrashed. Since meeting Tom it seems up to the age of 15 she has two sets of memories, one with Tom and one without. She sets off to find out why Tom Lynne has been erased from her memory and the rest of the worlds.

Polly was a great character who really grew during the novel. She starts off quite timid and easily lead by her friend Nina, but later on ends up at Oxford University leading her own life and making her own decisions. I loved how much she read as a child despite people like her mother telling her it is a waste of time and suts her off from real life. I really felt for her during her parents divorce, being turned out by her mother and finding out her father isn't the man she thought he was. I think the reading and divorce struck a big cord with me and made me really associate with Polly as it was so like my own upbringing.

Each chapter has a small quote from Tam Lin or Thomas the Rhymer and I feel I would have got a lot more from this story if I knew both tales better. I hope to read them both and then give this another read. I liked that Tom wasn't always over indulgent with Polly, at times he sent quite abrupt messages to her pretend ideas which made it more realistic and I liked the blending of the two different myths/fairy tales.

This will appeal to Young Adult readers, Fantasy and Fairy Tale fans as well as anyone who plainly likes a good story.

3 comments:

Nymeth said...

yay, I'm so happy that you liked it!

Polly is indeed a great character. I loved the bits about her upbringing, her love of books, her relationship with her parents and her grandmother, and of course with Tom. I love that part when she writes a story a lot like LOTR and Tom tells her, "use your own ideas", and at first she's all hurt but then she understands.

I didn't know the ballads of Tam Lim and Thomas the Rhymer when I first read it either, but this book inspired me to learn more about myths and folktales.

Anyway, let me shut up now.. this is a book I could go on about forever :P

Darla D said...

I read this book years ago (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record on this, aren't I?), and while I have vague memories of the story, what I remember most is at the end of the book, I had one of those shifts where you suddenly see the whole book in a different light, and it made me want to go back right away and reread it. I think I might do the Mythopoeic challenge and reread all these favorite books - what a great excuse to do that! (Not that I really need on, but you know, anything that validates my reading habit, I'll take. :-)

jennysbooks said...

...I comment on every post I see that mentions this book.

I am in love with this book. I want to crawl inside this book and live there. This is Diana Wynne Jones at her absolute best: inventive, perceptive, understated and brilliant.