cover image The Smart One

The Smart One

Jennifer Close, read by Rebecca Lowman. Random House Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12.5 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-385-36271-9

All the messy, complicated issues of family relationships, trying to be a grownup, and trying to be a parent are on display in Close’s novel about three grown children who, after major life setbacks, end up back under their parents’ roof for one tumultuous year. Martha, a nurse, has a nervous breakdown due to the stress of her job. Claire is suffering after a broken engagement and is troubled by financial woes. College student Max accidentally gets his girlfriend pregnant. Meanwhile, Weezy, the mother, worries about them all, and Will, the father, assumes they’ll figure it out on their own. Rebecca Lowman skillfully narrates this audio edition and subtly portrays the book’s many characters—most amusingly Martha, a bossy know-it-all who tries to control everyone else’s life but can’t handle her own. A Knopf hardcover. (Apr.)