First published: 1980
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Limited
Number of pages: 272
Liffley always dreamt of living in a country cottage. When she visited Honeycomb cottage in Somerset she new she wanted to live there. Richard, her husband, did not feel the same way. They had an apartment in London were he also worked, he was happy there. Richard wanted to have children, liffley, did not. They made a deal, if Richard agreed on moving from London to Honeycomb City, she would have his baby. Richard still was not enthusiastic about moving to the country. He was more of a city person; he liked to have people around him. He realized he had to travel to London every day to get to work. The apartment was an other issue. Liffley made the proposal some friend of hers, Mory and Helen, would move in their apartment. The traveling should not take to long, because the train station was not to far by car. Whether Richard still was not too enthusiastic, he agreed. Liffley and Richard would move to Honeycomb Cottage.
In January, they finally moved to the country. Liffley was exited. She was of the pill now, but still not pregnant. Honeycomb Cottage, in January, was colder than she expected. The rooms were smaller, but Liffley was happy, brave and positive.
After a few days, Richard had to go to his work again. Liffley had the times of the trains written down. When Richard arrived at the station, it appeared to be closed because of the winter season. Liffley had been reading the summer season timetable. Richard went home furious, slapped Liffley in her face and drove of again. Their neighbors, Mabs and Tucker, saw Richard leave again and wondered what just had happened. Later that day Mabs went to Honeycomb Cottage and introduced herself. She was very friendly, Liffley was very grateful to have found a friend so soon. Mabs went home to bake scones. While she was doing that, she talked to Tucker. She commanded him to go to honeycomb cottage as soon as possible. Mabs wanted Liffley to trust her. If she did, she would not go back to London. Then the owner of honeycomb cottage could not sell the place. She wanted to have her side of the field for grazing. That evening Richard did not come home, he wrote in a telegram he was going to stay with Bella and Ray. Tucker delivered the telegram introduced himself, got into the cottage and gained her trust. That night a storm came up, the next morning Tucker came to see if Liffley was all right. That morning he made love to her. Liffley promised herself no one was ever going to find out.
Before Richard had to go to work the next day he went round the apartment to explain to Mory and Helen that a mistake had been made, and that he and Liffley had to return to London. Richard had decided that they would have to use honeycomb cottage as a weekend retreat. It appeared that Mory and Helen changed a lot since the last time he had seen them. They were more like hippies now. Helens pregnant sister and her boyfriend also moved into the apartment. Richard explained what was going on, but Mory and Helen said they stayed in the apartment, whatever Richard said.
Richard went home and told Liffley he only was going to stay with Bella during the week; he would come home at weekends.
While Richard is staying with Bella and Ray, he starts an affair with Bella and with his secretary miss Martin. Richard thought there were three kinds of women, and three kinds of associated sex. Liffleys kind, which went with marriage. Bella’s kind, which went with extra-marital sex and self-disgust. Miss Martin’s kind, which involved seduction. He thought it was not possible to find al these qualities in one woman, which is why he cheated. He could never satisfy his needs monogamously.
Liffley discovered she was pregnant, but did not know who the father was. Mabs believes that the baby in Liffey should rightfully be hers. Enraged, Mabs begins casting spells over her unsuspecting and naïve victim. Nevertheless, Liffleys baby is growing fast. In the thirtieth week of the pregnancy, the doctors discover a placenta praevia. Liffley will have to have a caesarian. When Liffley is almost at the end of her pregnancy she realizes Mabs is not the good friend she thought she was. One day Mabs, Tucker, Richard and Liffley are having dinner. Then Mabs tells Richard the baby probably is not his but Tuckers. Richard leaves angry.
The doctors had told Liffley to come to the hospital as soon she started to bleed. If she waited too long the baby would suffocate. Mabs did not let her use the phone. One of Mabs kids went to the doctor’s house. One of her sisters was ill. When the doctor arrived, he brought Liffley and Mabs daughter to the hospital. Liffley gives birth to her son.
When Liffley saw her baby, she knew Richard was the father and not Tucker. After a while, Mabs realized it also. She got pregnant again and was not such a bad mother to her kids any more.
Liffley went home and lived alone with the baby in honeycomb cottage. On Boxing Day a car drew up outside. It was Richard, he did not care ay more whether it was his baby or not.
Meaning of Title:
The topics pregnancy and sex are of great importance in this book. In the surroundings of honeycomb cottage are growing puffballs. On page 19 Liffley compares the round swelling of the fungus with a belly swollen by pregnancy.
In a way, the puffballs are connected with being pregnant. I think that is why the title if this book is ‘Puffball’
This novel can be placed under General Fiction. It is an imaginary story, which could not happen in real live.
The theme of the book is human behavior according to pregnancy and relationships. This different relationships, the love, and the sex are of great importance in this book.
These topics lead to situations that make you smile and shiver. It is a book, which makes you realize what strange behavior people have sometimes.
The story is told in a chronological order without flashbacks.
These are the most important things that happened.
- Move from city to country
- Richard goes back to London during workdays
- Liffley sleeps with Tucker
- Richard has several affairs
- Liffley is pregnant
- Mabs start casting spells
- Baby born
Liffley: A 28 years old woman. She is married to Richard. She always wanted to live in the country. Honeycomb cottage was a dream that came true. She loves the silence and the environment of the country.
Liffley is not really mature, more like a naïve 18 year old. She is not ready yet to have a baby.
Richard: Does not want to live in the country. He wants Liffley to have his baby and he loves her in a strange kind of way. He does not want her to grow up and be independent. Having sex with one woman is not enough for him. He cheated on Liffley four times. (His former secretary, Bella, his secretary miss Martin and a young girl)
Mabs: people in town call her a witch. She knows everything about putting spells on persons. Mabs is somewhat addicted with being pregnant. She has many kids, but does not take good care of them. She is only nice to them when she is pregnant.
Tucker: he is married to Mabs. He does not like it when his wife is putting spells at people. Although Mabs forced him to sleep with Liffley, he likes Liffley. He enjoys spending time with her.
Bella: a friend of Richard and Liffley. She is married to Ray, but is also sleeping with Richard. She has two kids; an au pair is taking care of them.
Ray: a friend of Liffley and Richard, married to Bella. He is in love with a 16 year old girl.
Mory and Helen: friends of Liffley. They rent the apartment in London. During the story, they change from friends to enemies. They refuse to leave the house and make a terrible mess.
Miss Martin: she is engaged to Jeff and is still a virgin. She starts to work for Richard and loses her virginity to him.
When did the story took place:
It is not of importance for the story when it took place. I guess it took place in the second half of the 20th century.
The story is written trough the eyes of the writher. The thoughts of different characters are being described.
Was Liffley’s resentment of Richard a matter of pressure in her brain caused by endue retention of fluid, or in fact the result of his behavior? Liffley naturally assumed it was the latter. It is not pleasant for a young woman to believe that her behavior is dictated by her chemistry, and that her wrongs lie in herself, and not in other’s bad behavior.
Where did the story take place:
The story took place in honeycomb cottage in the country and in London.
It was sometimes difficult to remember who everyone was and what he or she did in the beginning. However, when I took the time to read the first 100 pages at ones instead of less than 20 pages a time I got a good impression of the characters. After I did that, it was not too difficult anymore to remember names and situations. They started to become real persons.
The characters were all very different from each other, and they all looked at situations from a different angle. During the story, you gain more and more information about the characters personality. That keeps the story interesting.
The situations are fun to read. The only thing that bored me after a while were the passages in witch the menstruation and the growing of a baby were being described.
The most interesting character was Richard. I had not expected he would cheat on Liffley so many times. The way he thinks about women is not correct in my eyes.
I liked the fact that Liffley was sort of a simple person. She realized that and knew she was not ready to have a baby yet. She thinks in a very childish way. By having a baby, she becomes more mature. I can imagine that is just how it goes in real life. Having a baby is a big responsibility.
I can appreciate Weldon’s style of writing. It is not too difficult. She described the situations very well. ‘Puffball’ is a story I would definitely recommend others to read.
Andere boeken van deze auteur:
Home - Contact - Over - ZoekBoekverslag op uw site - Onze Boekverslagen - Boekverslag toevoegen