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Follow Me

3.17  ·  Rating Details ·  421 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin's invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally's life, it's an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth o ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 691 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Thorndike Press (first published April 4th 2009)
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Feb 26, 2009 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly lovely novel about family secrets and the unexpected path that life takes us on. I am amazed at what Joanna Scott can pack into one sentence, one paragraph. It is more than I could imagine doing in a whole book. She is a master.
T.V and Book Addict
Apr 26, 2009 T.V and Book Addict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Rating: 4.7/5
Age R: 15+
Release Date: April 22, 2009
The writing in this is....out of this world. Seriously. It's just so freakin' beautiful!
Follow Me is one of the most beautiful books I have EVER read! The story is just too, too wonderful and unforgettable, it's one I am definitely going to revisit.
The story starts off with a girl who (we later learn is Sally's granddaughter) is talking about how her father tried to kill himself, failed, then just packed up and left. Sally, the narrator
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Follow Me is a beautifully written book. It is slow starting and difficult to get into, but at times the writing is almost lyrical and vivid. I've had a difficult time putting my finger on why I didn't love it, when I know that so many people did.

In 1947, 16-year old Sally Werner runs away from home, leaving her newborn son in a basket on her parent's kitchen table. Running away is what Sally does best. She runs away, lands on her feet and when things get difficult, runs away again. Fortunately,
Sally Werner is not quite my type of gal. She's flighty. Makes rash decisions. Runs away from her problems. But Joanna Scott's writing drew me into Sally's story, and I could not stop reading. I felt horrible when she left home, going away and not looking back. I was happy for her when she landed on her feet. Proud when she sang and others listened, admiring her voice. Sad when she left, again. Resigned when it seems as though Sally's doomed to repeat her mistakes, in yet another town. Run, Sall ...more
Sarah B
I've not read anything else by Scott, but I am tempted to, especially if it were shorter. From that you can tell that I felt this novel was unecessarily long. Some of the story threads took too long to recur and wrap up and so ended up feeling rather contrived. That said, it was an enjoyable, if not truly engrossing, book. I liked the focus on what is in many ways one person's small life and all the ways in which it can wind and wend its way, as well as all the ways one life affects many others. ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to read this book. It is not one that you can sit down and speed through. You need to take your time to read all the details and get all the information about Sally's life. Sally has her ups and downs and this story takes you along for the ride. There are a wide variety of characters, and while I had a hard time feeling the warmth from them, they each tell their own part of the story. I found this book to be well-written and I couldn't wait to see how things tied together at t ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Serena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At more than 400 pages, Joanna Scott's Follow Me is a very detailed account of Sally Werner's background as told by her granddaughter, Sally. Scott has a gift for detail, which can become a drawback when Sally Werner is wandering in the woods after leaving her baby with her parents. The twists and turns Sally's life takes are driven by her fear and her desire to fit in without revealing her true self in each new location, but often the poetic prose gets in the way. It isn't until page 53 that re ...more
Apr 15, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The book opens up with a guy jumping off a bridge.. and then we meet Sally the younger who decides to write the story that her grandmother, also Sally, told her to never write. I found myself getting lost in the family saga that began with Sally Werner/Sally Mole/Sally Bliss and reaches the granddaughter Sally.. Sally Werner is a teenager in 1947 when her life takes a left turn as she gets pregnant and ends up walking away from her newborn son. The aptly titled "Follow Me" has us following Sally ...more
May 16, 2016 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: Joanna Scott was one of my English professors in college.)

A sure sign of mad literary skillz is the ability to gain the reader's sympathy for a potentially irritating protagonist. (My mother actually abandoned this book around page 100.) Sally Werner/Angel/Mole/Bliss, as her litany of names implies, is an homage to America's celebration of continuous renewal and grand tradition of reinvention. (Salman Rushdie, however, in his novel Fury, asserts that this is actually a more general
Apr 22, 2009 Valorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sally Werner, a Pennsylvania farm girl, decides to throw caution to the wind and take a ride on her cousin’s motorcycle. This choice will change her life forever. A teenager mother in 1946, she abandons her baby boy with her family and runs away to start a new life only a few miles away. Sally runs to escape the people she feels judges her for her mistakes. Yet the unfortunate nature of her life is that she always feels like she has to run away and start over again. Most of the time, this is the ...more
Oct 11, 2010 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was interesting kept me reading through a trial of my own, my mother in law had emergency surgery a colon resection, which was good.
Every day when I would go to the hospital to sit with her, I would take my book and read. At the point where the Father and his story comes in and the granddaughter starts following her grandmothers story, I got a little confused. I didn't go back and reread which is what I should have done. I don't know if it was just me or if it was the book, that I got
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
When Sally Werner was 16, she had a baby boy by her cousin, Daniel. Two days later, she left the baby on her parent’s kitchen table and ran. This is a pattern Sally followed for years - she ran when someone from her old town recognized her, she ran when she found out she was pregnant, and she ran after an old boyfriend found her and assaulted her.

Sally finally settled into life in a small town and raised her daughter, Penelope, on her own. When Penelope’s father showed up, she decided to allow h
Christa Avampato
Apr 14, 2009 Christa Avampato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a writer, I read a lot, always looking for new styles and interesting turns of phrase. Joanna Scott has become my new favorite author. I quickly ran through her book, Follow Me, in a week. I couldn't put it down and wanted to enjoy every word of this consuming, at once bitter and sweet, story that spans several generations of women. Mistaken identities, family complications, love, and a sense of place dominate the books intertwining themes. At points I loved and hated all of the main characte ...more
May 07, 2009 Bonnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a young woman's search for herself and as readers, we follow her along this journey through her life. Sally Werner was born and raised on a farm in Pennsylvania with her siblings and immigrant parents. She makes many impulsive decisions as a young girl and along the way into adulthood. She abandons her home and family and follows a path along a river that continues to be a focus throughout her life. She finally tells the truth of her life, six decades later, to her granddaug ...more
Susan Coleman

I am less than 100 pages from finishing this book. Very disappointed that the plot took the expected turns. And I've found the device used to lead up to the conclusion (the younger Sally's father's introduction/confessional tapes to her) awkward, as if the author knew the story had already gone on too long so she tried to wrap it up quickly...but not too quickly, as the tangents and dream sequence descriptions also tend to run a bit long. Wouldn't really recommend this, as there seems to be no
Catherine Woodman
This is a well written book that might resonate better with someone who likes to revel in the way it used to be. FGor some reason, things set in the 1050's abound and this is not one of those that rises to the top of the list for me. Sally is the star of the book--she gets involved with a fast and furious cousin, and ends up giving birth to a baby at age 16. She leaves him on the kitchen table, like a loaf of bread, and takes off. She works in upstate New York, which is where she is from, but sh ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story "follows" a young 16-year-old girl who abandons her baby with her parents and takes off to try to make a better life for herself. The story follows her through her whole life...a life which involves making some poor decisions and keeping the birth of her first baby a secret. I found myself thinking a lot about the keeping of secrets. It can take a powerful amount of energy to keep secrets and the "danger" of having your secrets revealed must surely create a constant nagging tension wh ...more
Jul 21, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I grabbed at the library because the cover caught my attention. Thanks to a power outage and waiting for a repairman I read the entire thing this weekend. The story really pulled me along even if I was mildly annoyed at the main character at some points. One small mistake as a teenager sent Sally Werner on a lifetime of one thing leading to another. I really couldn't tell where the story was going to go until it got almost there and even still there was enough of a twist that it d ...more
Oct 06, 2009 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's dreamlike, in the sense that we follow this Sally character around from one lifestyle to another, and when things get hot or intolerable she takes off in a random direction, changes her last name and starts over -- just as you do in those long, action-packed dreams. And her scrapes and escapes are written, I think, to emphasize that dreamlike quality; the passages where she runs away are usually are accompanied by weird, ghostlike, italicized voices from her past, & etc.

So I was hooked
Jul 24, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Joanna Scott's writing style reminded me from the very beginning of Faulkner's "Light in August" and perhaps the story reminds me of that book as well. The characterization in the book is so distinct and memorable - I love stuttering Uncle Mason, Leo the cat, Mole who is Sally's first real love, Abe the seemingly deadbeat dad, and of course Sally herself. The mythical creatures of the Tuskee river complement the dream-like prose of the story. Perhaps the only part tha ...more
Tony Daniel
Apr 10, 2010 Tony Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: character-driven
Quirky-voiced stab at a coming-of-age, biographical life story of a woman who ran away from home as a teen, leaving a newborn behind, and then lived in several small towns in the state until men stopped beating women, which apparently happened sometime in the mid-1970s. Scott never got me to care about any of the twists and turns of fate in the novel as her character reacted to one non-catastrophe after another as if it were the end of her world. Finally toward the end there's a bit of Sally the ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating novel that follows Sally Werner through her hard, troubled life. Sally gets pregnant at 16 by her cousin then abandons the baby and runs away to try to start over, but trouble seems to follow Sally no matter how far she runs. Eventually Sally tries to find out what happened to her baby, but her unforgiving family still won't help her by telling her the truth. The reader eventually finds out what happened and how Sally unknowingly ruined both her children's lives. A sad, yet ...more
Okay, I didn't actually make it through this book. Got to about page 150 and decided to throw in the towel. The protagonist is a character I could not like. She's a teenage girl who gets pregnant, has her baby, then abandons it and leaves town to start a new life. She searches for people who will take care of her, takes advantage of them, sucks them dry, steals from them, and then when she's taken all she can, goes off again to find the next meal ticket. She's lazy, immoral, irresponsible, and g ...more
Amy Amberg
This book was kind of a let down. Looking back on it now the story is interesting and seems likely to be entertaining but while I was reading the book it seemed to drag on forever. I was hoping for a kind of country feel, seeing as Sally follows the river through the mountains and backwoods of Pennsylvania, stopping in little mining towns in the middle of nowhere. After a while the protagonist constantly running away from something got old and the story just dragged on. Good writing, but just no ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I liked it's cover and I am glad I did.

A women is telling the story of her father's attempted suicide. She begins by telling the life story of her Grandmother, or at least, her grandmother's version of it. The story of her Grandmother alone would have made a great novel, but then she adds in surprises and twists. The whole book was great and suspenseful, I couldn't wait to find out what happens. The last chapter is a little pointless and unnecessary, but everything
May 31, 2009 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last three books I have read all had domestic violence in them--depressing. Another books following a family through the years--in this case, three generations, but mainly the grandmother and grand-daughter.
I thought the present and past were presented in an easy to read way and the different characters telling the story was effective. It had slow parts, predictable parts, but overall kept my interest (but it didn't keep me up at night!)
Apr 14, 2010 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to give this book 4 stars! I loved it up until about 3/4 of the way through. Then it started telling a story of the main character's decendant. Although this was interesting, it told the story at least twice, in different ways. If she'd only left out the section from the point of view of Abe, then it would have been great! The writing style is really good and I liked a lot of this book.
Oct 26, 2009 Kendra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just OK. I liked the story, it was really complicated which is always fun to read. I guessed the ending, and then found out I was wrong (kind of) and that was good too. But there were a few parts that I didn't like at all, one lasted for 40 pages at least. And the ending could have wrapped up a little. I guess the whole "moral" of the story is that when you try to make things right (sinful things) without help, you just end up making them more wrong..
Once Upon a Twilight
The story develops as a long narrative detailed history of her grandmother and how her decisions affected everybody in her life. I had a difficult time staying focused, so much specific details made it very slow to develop and made me lose interest. It is fair to say that these kind of stories are not my cup of tea, but it might interest those that like coming of age and lyrical stories

Review link:
Terena Scott
I love Joanna Scott, which is why I bought this book, and as usual her writing is fantastic. She is a true master of lyrical, electric, yet grounded prose. But I didn't fall in love with this book as much as I have loved her other books, especially Tourmaline. Not entirely sure why. If you haven't read her work before, then this is a superb book to start. But if you have, you might be disappointed.
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from the backcover:
Joanna Scott is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Rochester. She has also taught in the creative writing programs at Princeton University and the University of Maryland. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship during the writing of Arrogance.
More about Joanna Scott...

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