Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Series: Ashbury/Brookfield (#1)

Pages: 288
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: January 10th, 2002.
IBSN: 9780312287368

Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth Clarry. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the fridge. On top of everything else, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the "Joy of the Envelope," a Complete and Utter Stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.

But Elizabeth is on the verge of some major changes. She may lose her best friend, find a wonderful new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon.

So much can happen in the time it takes to write a letter...

I don't have much experience with epistolary novels, but my experience with this one was a great one. My concern for a story told entirely through letters was that I wouldn't get a lot of insight into the main character, but the frequent letters from various made-up societies such as "The Cold Hard Truth Society", almost letters to herself, gave us a thorough look into the way Elizabeth thought.

With such a strong, quirky voice, Elizabeth reminded me of Ruby Oliver of E. Lockhart's The Boyfriend List. She was clever, self-deprecating, and had a wry sense of humour. The letters she wrote to herself gave us glimpses into her worries and insecurities that her letters to other people hid behind an endearing and bubbly tone. Her character was fleshed out in a surprising but very welcome way that I didn't expect from the book's format.

The context was also interesting. I had to keep reminding myself this book was written almost 10 years ago, and I was constantly encountering things like 'videos' rather than DVDs and letter writing as a common thing. But with such relatable characters and themes, it was difficult to imagine the story taking place when I was in kindergarten.

The offbeat relationships presented in this book showed unique, fascinating dynamics portrayed in a realistic light. The letters between Elizabeth and her mother and Christina gave depth to their relationships that a regular narrative would not achieve.

Finishing on a touching, hopeful note, highlighting all of the positive that the negative things in Elizabeth's life recently have brought, the conclusion definitely showed how much Elizabeth grew and matured.

Overall, Feeling Sorry For Celia was an incredibly funny and heart-warming story told in a refreshingly different and engaging style.

I give Feeling Sorry For Celia a 5 out of 5.