Feeling Sorry for Celia

Jaclyn Moriarty, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-26923-4
Coyly channeling teen quirkiness and enthusiasm, Moriarty captures the essence of a girl's adolescent years in her epistolary first novel. Consisting entirely of letters and notes written to and from protagonist Elizabeth Clarry, this peek into the life of an Australian teenager reads like a clandestine perusal of a very capably written diary. The daughter of divorced parents, Elizabeth is becoming reacquainted with her father, who has recently returned to Australia and wants to make up for all the time with her he's missed--this consists primarily of dragging her to expensive restaurants. Her life is further complicated by her best friend, Celia Buckley, who careens from one escapade to the next, confident someone else will bail her out. An English assignment lands Elizabeth a pen pal from a neighboring school, and she is becoming a serious long-distance runner, but Celia (and boys, of course) are serious distractions. Holding her own despite internal doubts, Elizabeth navigates the murky waters of adolescence essentially alone. Her mother is a parody of a contemporary career woman: emotionally dependent and immersed in her job at an ad agency, she leaves dizzy notes (many of which are no more than thinly veiled pleas for help with ad campaigns) around the house for Elizabeth, who is left to cook, clean and look after herself. Although adults may find the novel cloying at times, and younger readers might miss some of the humor (especially where the behavior of the adults is concerned), this teen's journey of self-discovery is a pleasant, feather-light distraction. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
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FORMATS
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-28736-8
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-7377-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-25286-7
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-330-47808-3
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