Out of the Pumpkin Shell
By Nancy Werking Poling
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 4 stars
This novel of friendship and family begins with a humorous tone as Out of the Pumpkin Shell by Nancy Werking Poling follows best friends Harriet and Elise as they face menopause and travel to Bryson’s Mill, Indiana where Elise’s mother, Rose, was born. The common bond of years of friendship hold Harriet and Elise together to face the truths both of them alternately seek and deny.
Harriet narrates this poignant story, her love of food self evident as the meals appealingly described whet the reader’s appetite for both the physical and emotional aspects of this story. What begins as a funny, comforting story of two friends both terrified and rebellious about menopause turns into a story most compelling and insightful when they discover the institutionalized Rose’s diaries from younger days and meet two of her lifelong friends in Bryson’s Mill. The pace of the story, which begins interestingly enough, takes on rapid speed and greater depth when Elise makes the decision to read the diaries with Harriet.
Out of the Pumpkin Shell will take the reader on an exploration with the characters not only on the externals of their lives, but also into areas that are not what they seem to be.
It is an affirmation of women from youth to throughout their later years, illustrating the wisdom that can come over time with an open, honest, truth-seeking mind.