The Melting of Molly

May 25, 2010

The Melting of Molly is by Maria Thompson Daviess, whose last name really is spelled like that, and it was a bestseller in 1912.

The melting in question is a metaphorical description of Molly falling in love, of course, but it’s nominally meant to refer to weight loss. Molly Carter is a twenty-five year old widow, and this book is supposed to be her diary, written to keep track of her diet and exercise regimes.

Mr. Carter, dead approximately one year, was nobody particularly interesting–just someone Molly married after Al Bennett, the young man she was in love with, had gone off into the world to try and make a name for himself or something. That was when Molly was seventeen, and now Al Bennett, having heard that Mr. Carter is out of the picture, has started sending Molly love letters and talking about coming home. Apparently he expects to see her in the same dress she was wearing when he left, only that was eight years ago, and it doesn’t quite fit. And by “quite” I mean “at all.”

That brings her to Dr. Moore next door, who is very nice about creating a diet for her, even though he thinks she looks like a luscious peach. So in spite of the fact that Molly’s diet, combined with her abandoning mourning clothes, seems to bring half the men in town almost to the point of proposing, you know right from the beginning that it’s the doctor that she’s going to end up with.

Anyway, most of the other suitors eventually get paired off with other girls. And when Al Bennett finally arrives, he turns out to have gotten fat, which makes his insisting that Molly be as slim as she was when she was seventeen seem very silly. Fortunately, there’s another girl who knows and loves him in his current, hefty state, and presumably she comforts him.

And that’s the trouble with this book. It cuts off when you still want to know more, like what happens with Al and Ruth Chester, and what the gossips who populate the town think about Molly’s engagement to the doctor. We don’t even really get to meet Al, which is frustrating, since so much of Molly’s time during the book is taken up with preparing herself for his arrival, and wondering what he’ll think of her.

Still, I like it. It’s sweet and light and very, very fluffy. And Molly is just a little bit on the right side of generic, even though her refusal to see that the doctor is in love with her sometimes strains belief.

One comment

  1. […] Redeeming Qualities was one of the most interesting blogs I was introduced to at BBC.  Melody reviews out-of-print books, many of which are available for free through Project Gutenberg.  Her reviews are really interesting and she’s very funny.  If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, you’ll find it here.  (The blog link leads straight to her review of The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess, a book  I have to read because it seems so sweet and silly at the same time). […]

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