Sunday, March 02, 2008

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia is a very funny teen chick lit book. I think I enjoyed it far more than Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicholson books (Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging; On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God; etc). Elizabeth Clarry makes for a fairly down-to-earth teenager in spite of all the kooky people around her. Her best friend Celia has, in the beginning of the book, run away to join the circus. No one seems particularly concerned, especially after they receive news that she actually is joining a circus. Elizabeth's newest friend is a pen pal from another school whose name she received as an assignment from her English teacher. Elizabeth's father has moved back to Australia (where Elizabeth lives) and is trying to spend time with her, and Elizabeth's mother can't quite figure out what to do about it.

What I like best about this books is how Moriarty's characters are so well developed by the notes and letters they write. You just know Elizabeth's mother is kooky (but not as kooky as Celia's) from her first note which is all punctuated with exclamation marks in the first half--the equivalent of standing in front of the fridge and waving her arms frantically to get her daughter's attention--and is followed by a few directions and a warning that if she sunburns her face "like that again," nothing will be left "but bones and brains and eyeballs."

Also included in the characters' correspondence is unsolicited advice from groups in Elizabeth's (slightly paranoid) head from organizations like, "The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well)," "Best Friends Club," and "The Society of High School Runners Who Aren't Very Good at Long-Distance Running but Would Be if They Just Trained." Sometimes these seemed a bit over the top--but who doesn't have all these seemingly outside opinions filtering through their head from some mysterious somewhere?

Recommended readers: fans of the Georgia Nicholson series, teenage fans of Bridget Jones (I liked this book better than any of the aforementioned), teenage girls who are required to read a book for some period of time during the school day but who don't care to read perceived-to-be -generally-boring long-chapters books, and just about any teenage girl who does like to read. Very few teen girls won't find themselves in some facet of this book.


raidergirl3 said...

I read a book by Moriarty last summer that was all letters and emails, written between teenagers at two schools in Australia. It was good and called The Year of Secret Assignments.
Here's my short review:

Gabbi said...

I'm a huge Jaclyn fan! Her adult book, I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes was wonderful it hard to find.