Saturday, September 8, 2007

For A Good Time

I picked up Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty right after I got done with the very heavy Dahlia's Gone and fell in love with the book immediately. It opened with a letter expressing admiration for the winter holiday of the protagonist, Elizabeth, and inviting her to join their society, The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going To Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well) ("It's so impressive, Elizabeth! You had four assignments, an English essay, and a chapter of math to do. And you didn't do one single piece of homework!"). This pretty much set the tone for the book.

The story itself is a fairly pedestrian plotline, basically The Transition To Young Adulthood. But it's the way it's told that makes it so delightful. Moriarty uses a series of letters to tell the story. In addition to The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School, Elizabeth regularly receives letters from The Cold Hard Truth Society, The Association of Teenagers, The Best Friends Club, The Young Romance Association, The Secret and Mysterious Association of All that Is Secret and Mysterious, and The Society of Amateur Detectives, among many others. She also gets notes from her mom, an ad executive, on the fridge, asking her to take care of the laundry and also think of some good things about purple lipstick. The centerpiece is the correspondence between Elizabeth and a Complete and Total Stranger, her pen pal Christina, from a different high school. They were matched up by Elizabeth's English teacher and turn out to be a great pair.

Like I said before, the plot line is nothing special. The Celia of the title has been Elizabeth's best friend since early childhood. Celia is kind of crazy, and as they enter high school, the friendship starts to change. Elizabeth also falls in love with a boy and works out some complicated home life stuff regarding her parents, who divorced when she was little, and the stepbrother she's never met. But I didn't care, and I'm betting you won't either, for Moriarty manages to make it all fresh and fun. Even the sad parts have a sort of sparkle to them. The dust jacket says that Moriarty is an entertainment lawyer, and that this was her first novel. It was published in 2000, though, so I hope she's tried again. I bet Moriarty has more stories in her.

1 comment:

momof3gr8kids said...

This book sounds like it's right up my alley! As a matter of fact, if there is a Society of Thirty-Something Mothers Who Should Have Thought Twice About Going Back to College, I should be receiving my letter any day now. I'll add this one to my list!