Mary Poppins Retires
Publisher: Available: Kindle, Paperback
Mary Poppins has grown older in this new incarnation, but our beloved heroine is still cloaked in the iconic characteristics that defined her: oodles of charisma, mischievous magic, a smidgen of vanity, and lots of humor. After having spent the bulk of her life force fixing kids, Mary Poppins discovers she faces the diminishing powers that come with age and it is time to retire. She and her parrot Longjohn go about the happy business of building a dream house made of seashells on the seashore....
Meanwhile, Jeremy Abrams, eight and three quarters, faces seemingly insurmountable problems. His dad died in the war, and his mom, a once popular math teacher, but now burdened with a broken heart, succumbs to drug addiction. Jeremy lives with his grandmother, Adeline, who unfortunately has “the Alzheimer’s.” Our hero suffers from night terrors, experiencing scary visions in his sleep. Perhaps the young man’s biggest problem arises from his frightening encounters with the gang comprised of the three meanest kids in town.
Jeremy’s grandmother has always loved Mary Poppins (since the long ago release of the popular movie and the books before that.) Realizing that Jeremy needs help, she begins writing letters addressed to her heroine. Longjohn, the parrot, delivers Adeline’s letters to his mistress, though he argues (rather passionately) against intervening in Jeremy’s troubled life. Of course Mary Poppins has to help. She arranges for Jeremy’s mom—quite far gone now--to find a giant puppy and leave this incredible present on Jeremy’s doorstep on Christmas Eve. Jeremy’s mom hopes the dog provides her boy with the love she cannot give him.
It is indeed love at first sight; Jeremy names the dog Oso. At first it seems the remarkable canine has solved all of Jeremy’s problems. Jeremy is no long bothered by night terrors. The gang admires Jeremy’s big and courageous dog, and at last they leave Jeremy alone. Jeremy is able to concentrate on school and his beloved math club until—
Jeremy’s grandmother dies.
Overwhelmed with grief, Jeremy is thrown into foster care. Worse, Oso is taken to the pound.
Jeremy’s new foster ‘mother’, Ms. Rail, is a four hundred pound woman who does nothing but eat ice-cream and cake and watch TV. She won’t let Jeremy outside and even insists on ‘homeschooling’ him. She only humors Jeremy’s extreme anxiety to get Oso back. Desperate to save his beloved dog, certain he could survive anything if only he could get Oso back, Jeremy tries to escape, to no avail, until…
From the kitchen window, he notices his new next-door neighbor moving in. An older woman with gray hair and a parrot, she arrives in an old station wagon. Despite her troubling power surges and black outs, Mary Poppins sets about helping Jeremy. This involves soliciting support from the gang, an old purple bike with hidden exhilarating and dangerous powers, a special Mary Poppins app on one of the boy’s phones, giant magic balloons, all mixed together in adventure of hair-raising excitement.
The ending of the story packs a powerful emotional punch.