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Anywhere Else But Here

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Anywhere Else But Here
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Author Bruce Clements
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Fiction, Teen
Publisher Dell
Released 1980
Media Type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 174
ISBN ISBN 0--440-90247-9

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Main Summary

(from book cover) Molly isn't about to let anyone get in her way. When her father's printing business fails, she knows it's up to her to convince him that they would be happier elsewhere. Living with Aunt Aurora had been fine until now, but when Fostra Lee Post, Aunt Aurora's childhood friend, arrives on the scene preaching the gospel of a California cult, life becomes unbearable. To make matters worse, Molly suspects her aunt's fiance of shady dealings in the family business.

She's got to move fast. What will her father do when Molly reveals the plan that will change their lives?''

Author Bruce Clements touches on the value of money and importance of family in this fiction novel, about a teen living in early 80's upstate New York who proves that dreams can come true, along with hard work, determination, sacrifice, and a good intention.

Characters

WARNING: The following contains spoilers!

Molly Smelter

  • 13-year old girl; the protagonist in the story
  • wise
  • is an only child and lives with her father, Harold Smelter, in Schenectady, New York
  • ambitious

Harold "Papa" Smelter

  • the father of Molly Smelter
  • owns a printing shop
  • goes broke after Uncle Shel "bought him out"; was then offered a job at G.E. (General Electric)
  • a patient and concerned character
  • had a wife (Molly's mother) who fleed Poland during World War II at the age of twelve; died of cancer when Molly was nearly a year old

Aunt Aurora

  • Harold's sister
  • was Molly's caretaker and "mother figure" after her mother's death
  • engaged to the rich Shelby Bissel (see below)

Shelby Bissel

  • Aunt Aurora's fiance and Molly's uncle-to-be
  • referred to in the book as "Uncle Shel"
  • has a rich uncle in England named Lionel
  • disliked by Molly due to what he did to her father
  • selfish and conniving

Fostra Lee Post

  • Aunt Aurora's best friend from church camp
  • is from California
  • follows a cult religion referred to as "The Growth Channel Movement"
  • is divorced and has a son, Claude

Claude Post

  • Fostra Lee Post's 8-year old son
  • oblivious about his surroundings
  • moved a lot as a child
  • does whatever he wishes
  • strikes an unlikely friendship with Molly

Walter Potrezeski

  • Molly's family friend
  • he and his family immigrated to America from Poland during World War II
  • investment counselor and member of the Polish-American Club
  • lives in Saratoga
  • buys Molly's dollhouse in order for her to get the deposit for the Connecticut shop
  • was friends with Molly's mother back in Poland

Miss Simmons

  • Molly's Grade 4 teacher
  • is fairly old and wears rimmed glasses
  • an inspiration to Molly and understands her

Philip Reinauer

  • Molly's friend and next-door neighbor
  • plays on the football team at Linton High School
  • works odd jobs and lives with his grandparents
  • is dating Carolyn Bassett, the most popular girl in school, whom Molly dislikes

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1

The book starts with Molly and her father holding an auction in front of their Schenectady, New York, home, in order to raise funds after her father had gone broke at his small printing ventures the last winter. Molly at the time had been planning to move out of Schenectady once they had raised enough money from all their junk items at the auction. One of the customers, a man known as Walter Potrezeski, whom Molly has seen before but has never met personally, comes up and asks her for her father, regarding an ad they made in the newspaper. A conversation soon strikes between them, and as a compliment, Mr. Potrezeski claims that Molly looked like her mother when she was younger. Molly is skeptical upon hearing this. We are then introduced to her Aunt Aurora and Uncle Shel, who are engaged and are going to get married once he inherits his rich uncle's money after he dies.

Chapter 2

Molly spends her time looking at and playing with her dollhouse, a special heirloom from her mother. As she describes the dollhouse, it is revealed that it is a replica of her mother's childhood home back in Krakow, Poland. It was also considered special in the fact that it was the only thing she took with her when she escaped to America. As she speaks of the house, she reveals that she wishes to go to Willimantic, a small town in the state of Connecticut, after her father had heard of another printing shop that was up for sale. Ironically, she had never seen a picture of it, let alone been there. After writing to her best friend, Mary Ellen Cox who moved away a couple months ago and is, at that moment, living in Philadelphia, Aunt Aurora tells her that there will be a visitor: Fostra Lee Post, her old friend from childhood. Just as her neighbor, Philip Reinauer was about to invite her out to the movies, Mrs. Post arrives.

Chapter 3

Mrs. Post and Molly become instant [and unlikely] friends, although Molly doesn't really feel the same way. Out of curiosity, Molly asks her about her son, Claude, and where he might be. Fostra happily tells her that he is hiding in Uncle Shel's car. Upon meeting Claude, Molly greets him in a friendly way, however, Claude doesn't respond to her offers to go inside the house. Instead, assuming that he is a nervous character, he rubs his wrist on his pants, and eventually refuses to go in. She gives up and goes back to the house, until suddenly she sees no one but her friend Phillip on her porch. He asks her if she's going to the movies, but she doesn't respond and goes back in the house. She complains to Mrs. Post that Claude will not get out of the car; however, she simply responds by advising her to let him do whatever he wants to do, hinting at her extreme humanist beliefs. Molly then comes back to Phillip, who is patiently waiting by the porch, asking her to read a poem that he created, just for advice. She asks her dad how long Mrs. Post will be staying. He replies that she will be leaving after attending a special meeting in Albany. It is then revealed that this meeting has to deal with Mrs. Post's religion, which turns out to be a cult based in Sacramento whose "god" travels around the country to "bring his wisdom". Her father then starts comparing Molly to Mama, just like the way Mr. Potrezeski did in Chapter 1.

Chapter 4

The auction continues to be held, and Mr. Potrezeski comes back to the house again. Aside from buying Polish antiques from Molly's deceased Canadian aunt, he tells her a secret that readers already could have known: he happened to know Molly's mother when she left Poland, and told her about the house which Molly's dollhouse replicated, and where it was. On top of that, he also tells her that her grandfather provided him and his family with shelter and care due to his strong hate for Communism and his strong belief in God (Potrezski's father was a Jew and a Communist). Somewhile later, his father had been arrested by the Russians for being "the wrong kind" of Communists, as well as his mother. Potrezeski, on the other hand, had been placed in a concentration camp before escaping to Germany, and followed the route of Molly's mother, first to Canada, and finally landing in America. After telling his story, Molly shows her new-found family friend the dollhouse, and considers if she should sell it to him or not, due to this new information knowing her mother. She, Fostra Lee Post and Claude then decide to go for a walk to the local delicatessen. Molly and Mrs. Post then have several superficial conundrums and discussions, including deciding on whether to buy Claude a donut, stealing flowers from a neighbor's yard, and whether or not Claude needed a bandage due to his wrist turning purple from all the rubbing. Mrs. Post's pieces of advice to Molly only reveal more about her beliefs.

Chapter 5

After her father is given a check by an auctioneer, she talks to Aunt Aurora. Aurora had apparently found an ad in the newspaper for General Electric, who are hiring printers. Unfortunately, this doesn't fit with Molly's plan as the company is based in Schenectady, but her aunt begs to differ. She then takes the newspaper to her dad, only to realize that he has already been there to see any available jobs. They then soon engage themselves in a tea with Mrs. Post and Claude. Mrs. Post soon tells Molly about the meeting that she would attend the following Thursday at an Albany motel. She explains that this affair would be considered as her "Short Range Plan". To add, her "Long Range Plan" is to keep on travelling the "Good Energy Path", a reference to the path of life. These are some of the principles of the Growth Channel Movement, led by Dr. Spiros Avanti. Later, Molly calls Mr. Potrezeski over in the nearby town Saratoga and tells him that she would consider him renting the dollhouse. He then invites her to breakfast at the Van Dyke Hotel to further discuss these matters.