Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication Date: 1/10/02
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
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...
A #1 bestseller in Australia, this fabulous debut is a funny, touching, revealing story written entirely in the form of letters, messages, postcards—and bizarre missives from imaginary organizations like The Cold Hard Truth Association.
Feeling Sorry for Celia captures, with rare acuity, female friendship and the bonding and parting that occurs as we grow. Jaclyn Moriarty's hilariously candid novel shows that the roller coaster ride of being a teenager is every bit as fun as we remember—and every bit as harrowing.
HERE IS A REVIEW!!!! RIGHT HERE ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN!!!
Like the other Jaclyn Moriarty book I read recently (Finding Cassie Crazy), this is written in epistolary format and includes letters, the backs of postcards, and random notes. The notes from Elizabeth’s mother were probably my favorite bits as they all started in a similar way to how I started this review (HERE IS A NOTE!!! RIGHT NEXT TO THE REFRIGERATOR!!! ) and her mother would give her topics to think on and/or discuss—what she thinks of purple nail polish, what a catchy slogan could be for a product, or thoughts on socks. (I have a lot of thoughts on socks and have, on numerous occasions, been accused (rightly) of stealing socks from my roommates. I practice the old “sibling rule” that if you leave it in my room, it becomes mine.) Liz’s mother cracked me up--“I hope you feel better today. Please ring me at work if you are dead."
Because I read one other Ashbury High book before this one, I can’t help but compare and I enjoyed Finding Cassie Crazy more. The humor was more consistent and I found myself more invested in each of the relationships. The tone here felt more serious and, while I did find much of it humorous, those moments were further apart. (how many times can I say the word ‘more’?) Rather than focusing on a group of friends and their pen pals, Feeling Sorry for Celia catalogs the formation of one friendship (Liz and her pen pal Christina) while Liz is simultaneously having trouble in her relationship with her best friend Celia. I had a hard time with Celia’s character because she was flighty and (overly) adventurous. I see how Celia’s home situation contributed to her wanderlust but it doesn’t mean that I think she’s a good friend to Liz. The developing friendship between Liz and Christina was lovely, as they both supported each other from the get-go and actually cared what was going on in the other’s life. Celia seemed like one of those friends you dread calling because they will just ramble on about their life and never ask you about how you’re doing.
My friend and I were talking the other day about authors we adore enough to read everything they ever write. I think Jaclyn Moriarty is a kindred spirit. (Anne with an ‘e’ would definitely think so) She is funny, her characters are endearing, and she is successful at wring epistolary YA. Keep doing it, JM, and I will keep buying and reading everything you write. In fact, I have the two remaining Ashbury/Brookfield books already lined up.