HOME             ABOUT             REVIEWS             BOOK LISTS             CONTACT             LINKS


Monday, 7 June 2010

Review: Feeling Sorry for Celia

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Release date: 2001 UK
Genre: Contemporary teen life, teen romance, YA, teen issues
Target audience: 12+

Summary from Goodreads:
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....

Feeling Sorry for Celia is the comic yet touching story of Elizabeth Clarry. The whole novel is told through letters to and from Elizabeth. The inventive Mr Botherit -- Elizabeth's English teacher -- sets the class an assignment. They must write to a stranger at the local state school. Elizabeth muses over the fact that this is Mr Botherit's way of hanging on to the dark age of envelopes but he is also aiming to forge ties between the young people at Ashbury High and those at Broomfield. Elizabeth's very witty letters immediately pull you into the story. Her voice is addictive. I read this book in one sitting. I just did not want to put it down.

Elizabeth's first letter to a stranger happens to be given to Christina. At first it seems the girls may be opposites. Elizabeth detests porridge with a passion. Christina loves it. Could it be that their letter-exchange will never get over this insurmountable hurdle? Thankfully, no. One should not judge a person on their feeling towards what constitutes an appropriate breakfast. The exchange of letters between Elizabeth and Christina reveals the differing challenges of their lives. Elizabeth is an only child. She is just starting to develop a relationship with her estranged father. At home she spends a lot of time alone as her mum works late but they have a very touching relationship. Christina is the eldest of five children. She loves her siblings and spends much time being responsible for them but sharing her room with her younger sister leaves her with little privacy. Each girl can see the attraction and the pitfalls of the other's life.

Elizabeth is burdened by the worry of her best friend Celia's disappearance. Celia has had a liberal upbringing which lacks boundaries. She has a tendency to disappear when the mood takes her and go off on great adventures. This time when Celia disappears she doesn't let even Elizabeth know where she is and so Elizabeth is understnadably worried. Celia is a flighty and selfish character. Christina's best friend Maddie is a love-struck girl who falls in love with any boy at the blink of an eyelid and then convinces them that they should run away together. It wears Christina down to see her friend so utterly self-absorbed and ruthless when it comes to her conquests.

Both Elizabeth and Christina share their worries and their personal dilemmas through the letters. They offer each other support without ever giving the other advice. Intermingled with their letters are various letters to Elizabeth from different associations. The Cold Hard Truth Association tell her frankly that the boy she likes is way above her level. The Society of Teenagers tell her she will never find a place with them because she has never kissed a boy or had a boyfriend. They are a hilarious addition to the novel and add some light relief to the sad and poignant story that is the missing Celia and the general coming to terms with the highs and lows of teenage relationships.

Feeling Sorry for Celia is a novel which gets to the heart of teenage worries, relationships and most importantly friendships. This novel is a journey which makes you care deeply about what happens to the main characters. At times it is highly amusing. I completely related to Elizabeth's voice. At times it is sad. People are so naturally self-absorbed. At other times it warms the heart. Friendship can heal even the deepest wounds. Every page is filled with teenage truth. I absolutely loved this book. I want to write like Jaclyn Moriarty. She is a genius. I feel all squishy inside when I think about this book. This one is a keeper!


Dazzling Mage said...

Great review! I loved reading this book, and I'm glad you liked it. =)

asamum said...

Grat review I think this one would be fab for the 9 year old :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I think I really need to read some of Jaclyn Moriarty's books. My sister just read my copy of Dreaming of Amelia and loved it so I haven't really got a reason not to!

This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great review! I must put this book on my TBR list.

Robby said...

All of Jaclyn's book sounds great, and this review is great, and you are great! Great. :]

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Squishy inside? Love it. What a fantastic way to put it.

Sasha said...

I LLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEDD this book so much! It was amazing but I couldn't really put my finger on why it was amazing. Really quirky! Loved your review x

Rowena said...

Awww, this book sounds like something both me and my daughter would read. Loved your review! Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention.

Carla said...

I am thinking I need to get my head together and read some of this womans books, because your like her UK cheerleader, you always make them sound amazing! I *must* read one of them very soon!!

TheBookMogul said...

I have just brought this book because I really enjoyed Dreaming of Amelia. Thanks for your review.

in which a girl reads said...

Your reviews are always so well-written and detailed :)

I absolutely lovedlovedloved The Year of Secret Assignments (I was basically laughing the whole time I was reading) and really need to read more by Moriarty.I love how her books can be simultaneously rib-cracking and heartfelt with a focus on friendship. I really must pick Feeling Sorry for Celia when I can!

Cleverly Inked said...

I have this in my TBR PILE hmm..Wonderful review

StephTheBookworm said...

I read this one years ago and I remember that I loved it.

Lauren said...

I love this type of book! Your review has got me feeling totally in the mood for this kind of happy-sad vibe. Once the TBR mountain subsides, this one is definitely on my list.

I Want To Read That said...

*digs out copy*

REALLY need to read this now...sounds soooo good:)

Becky said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments.

Dazzling Mage, thank you!

Asamum, I tweeted you as you know but I maybe should have made it clearer I definitely recommend this for over 12s. It does talk quite intimately about sexual relationships.

Sophie, open to the first chapter of Dreaming of Amelia and START READING! Really you won't be disappointed.

This Miss, ooh enjoy!

Robby, yes Jaclyn Moriarty is just the ABSOLUTE BEST!

Juju, hee hee. Glad you liked my description.

Sasha, it is lovely to find a fellow Jaclyn fan!

Rowena, it is an absolute pleasure. Hope you enjoy it.

Book Mogul, good choice! Dreaming of Amelia is also brilliant!

Meg, ah huh. You must. Definitely. I think you will love it too. Oh and thank you for your very lovely comment.

Cleverly Inked, yay. You must read it and let me know how you get on.

Steph, you have excellent taste!

Lauren, I think I owe you a huge thanks for making me realise that I had a squeal worthy book when I got Dreaming of Amelia. This is where my love for Jaclyn Moriarty began.

Sammee, yes READ IT NOW! Seriously, it is just so wonderful. Enjoy!