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The Melting of Molly (1912)

by Maria Thompson Daviess

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harpeth Valley (1912)

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324761,835 (4.14)22
Yes, she laments over her lost figure, but what woman doesn't? Then she receives a letter telling her that Al Bennet, the love of her youth, was returning to his hometown and now Molly is distraught at looking, looking -- like a fat cow But have no fear, her neighbor is Doctor John He gives her a list of things to do and eat and promises that within two months, she'll be as thin as she was back years ago, when Al Bennet left town.But as the fat melts away, she begins to realize that perhaps Al Bennet is not the man of her dreams after all. . . .*Maria Thompson Daviess was an American artist and author. She wrote thirteen novels, one of which was Miss Selma Lue, a novel that typifies her over-optimistic style. She also participated in efforts to bring women's suffrage to Tennessee.… (more)
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
Sweet and relatively short. Molly is a 25-year-old widow. When she was a teenager, she was in love with Alfred, who left to pursue a career. In his absence, her friends and relatives push her into marrying Mr. Carter, an older man with little personality. Some time after his death she receives a letter saying that Alfred is coming home, with the express intention of renewing their courtship. He looks forward to finding Molly exactly as he left her eight years ago.
There's just one problem: Molly's married life consisted of rich foods and little to do, so she is not the thin wisp of a girl that she was at age 18.
She flees to her next-door neighbor, Doctor John Moore. Doctor Moore compliments Molly on her looks and isn't totally convinced that she needs to become "a string bean," but he offers her his medical advice when he sees that she is determined.
As the story progresses, it becomes clear how much Molly and the doctor have come to depend on each other. He is a widower with a young son, and Molly has become like a mother to little Billy. She stayed up nights walking him in the garden when he was cutting teeth. She regularly plays with him, teaches him and cuddles him.
Her friendship with his father the doctor is rather uncertain. By turns he is friendly or stern, helpful or admonishing, and while Molly trusts him, she can't help but occasionally get angry with him. She especially resents the calm interest he seems to take in her returning suitor Alfred.
As Molly slims down and gets some amazing new clothes, she starts to attract a lot of interest from a couple of the young men in town. She journalizes about her conflicting feelings and tries hard to ignore the ones that are the most obvious to the reader.
Molly is an easy-to-read narrator with a sprightly voice. This was a fun, engaging little story. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
I love me my Molly! ( )
  2wonderY | Aug 13, 2021 |
I unintentionally ended up with this book. . . what a delightful surprise! A Publisher's Weekly best seller of 1912, it's not a heavy weight read. It's probably the chick-lit of its time.

Molly is a young widow whose old flame is coming back to town. She's gained weight but wants to look her best and turns to her friend, the doctor who lives next door, for advice. (Clearly they didn't have enough diet books available in that time period.) The book chronicles her dieting, her friends and life in the small Southern town in which she lives. And she does end up with a beau/fiance in the end but it's not the one she originally set out for.

The way Daviess' describes the places and events draws you in and leaves you laughing. Example: "Men are very strange people. They are like those horrible sums in algebra that you think about and worry about and cry about and try to get help from other women about, and then all of a sudden X works itself out into perfectly good sense. Not that I thought about Mr. Carter (her deceased husband - it was not a match made in heaven, and she was pushed in to it by her relatives), poor man! When he wasn't right around I felt it best to forget him as much as I could, but it seems hard for other women to let you forget either your husband or theirs."

Or this gem, after Molly sneaks off to the city to buy clothes that aren't black but tells her relatives she is getting a tombstone for her deceased husband. On the train back she runs into a man she knows from town and he comments on her sad errand: "What's a woman going to say when she has a tombstone thrown in her face like that? I didn't say anything, but what I thought about Aunt Adeline filled a dreadful pause. Perfectly dumb and quiet I sat for an awful space of time and wondered just what I was going to do. Could a woman lie a monument into her suitcase?"

A light read from a by-gone era, fun with delightful prose. ( )
  SilverKitty | Jul 18, 2013 |
I can read this old treasure over and over again. The author drops you into the story without any preamble. The conceit is this is a journal started by Molly to document her struggle to lose pounds and inches before her old boyfriend returns from a long absence. He has written, asking her to wear the same dress he saw her in last. Her picturesque thought processes and turns of phrase are adorable. She turns to the doctor next door for assistance. He is recently widowed with a young son whom she mothers. You can guess the outcome; but the trip is well taken. ( )
  2wonderY | Jan 10, 2011 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maria Thompson Daviessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crosby, R. M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
Molly Carter and I dedicate this book to our good friend Carol King Jenney
First words
Yes, I truly think that in all the world there is nothing so dead as a young widow's deceased husband, and God ought to give His wisest man-angel special charge concerning looking after her and the devil at the same time. They both need it!
Quotations
Poor Mr. Carter said when Billy cut his teeth that a neighbor's baby can be worse than twins of your own. He didn't like children and the baby's crying disturbed him, so many a night I walked Billy out in the garden until daylight, while Mr. Carter and Doctor John both slept. Always his little, warm, wilty body has comforted me for the emptiness of not having a baby of my own. And he's very congenial, too, for he's slim and flowery, pink and dimply, and as mannish as his father, in funny little flashes.
If some of the women in my missionary society knew how friendly I feel with God they would put me out for contempt of court.
The bluegrass in my yard is full of fat little fryers and I wish I were a sheep if I have to eat lettuce and spinach for grass. At least I'd have more than one chop inside me then.
...we were interrupted...by the appearance of Aunt Bettie Pollard, and with her came a long, tall, lovely vision of a woman in the most wonderful close clingy dress and hat that you wanted to eat on sight. I hated her instantly with the most intense adoration that made me want to lie down at her feet, and also made me feel like I had gained all the more than twenty pounds that I have slaved off me and doubled them on again.
It is strange how spending a man's money makes you feel more congenial with him and as I sat in the cars on my way to the city early the next morning I felt nearer to Mr. Carter than I almost ever did, alive or dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Gutenberg Project says - the American novel publication differs significantly from the British magazine publication - and has both versions.
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Yes, she laments over her lost figure, but what woman doesn't? Then she receives a letter telling her that Al Bennet, the love of her youth, was returning to his hometown and now Molly is distraught at looking, looking -- like a fat cow But have no fear, her neighbor is Doctor John He gives her a list of things to do and eat and promises that within two months, she'll be as thin as she was back years ago, when Al Bennet left town.But as the fat melts away, she begins to realize that perhaps Al Bennet is not the man of her dreams after all. . . .*Maria Thompson Daviess was an American artist and author. She wrote thirteen novels, one of which was Miss Selma Lue, a novel that typifies her over-optimistic style. She also participated in efforts to bring women's suffrage to Tennessee.

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