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Carrie Pilby Paperback – June 22, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–Carrie Pilby was a child prodigy. She skipped three grades but never learned how to make friends. Her father told her she'd find like-minded people in college, specifically Harvard. She refers to this as his “Big Lie.” She graduates at 19, moves back to NYC, and still has no one. She can't find anyone morally and intellectually acceptable. Her therapist gives her homework: identify things she loves and do them, go on a date, go to a New Year's Eve party, join a club. So begins her journey toward acceptance of others and herself. Carrie is so thoughtful, inquisitive, and philosophically self-searching that readers will believe she's a genius. Her observations of New York and New Yorkers alone could fill a very interesting book. Though the narrative is almost completely inside Carrie's head, her introspection never crosses into navel-gazing. Her thoughts are never boring, even when she's thinking about math. Carrie Pilby is a page-turner, and the will she or won't she find love and understanding moves the deceptively uneventful plot. Even as she fails and fails, Carrie's efforts to integrate bring the mood of the novel slowly out of quiet darkness to buoyant light. Her struggle for acceptance is so universally teenage, smart girls (and women) will pull for her to the end.–Johanna Lewis, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Carrie, 19, is a genius: she's already graduated from Harvard. But social success has always eluded her. She now lives alone in a New York apartment and every week sees a therapist who makes a list of goals for her, including going out on a date and joining an organization. Of course, Carrie goes about these things in her own quirky and hilarious way. The organization she picks is a church, which she is certain is cultlike and run by a minister who is fleecing the parishioners. She turns to the personal ads for a date, and picks Matt, an engaged man looking to cheat on his fiancee, and Carrie plans to rat on him. But even brilliant Carrie can't predict that she'll be attracted to Matt or that the minister is actually moral. Lissner's heroine is utterly charming and unique, and readers will eagerly turn the pages to find out how her search for happiness unfolds. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Reprint edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Caren Lissner's humorous first novel, CARRIE PILBY, was published in 2003. She has published humorous essays in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Weatherwise Magazine. She is a full-time community newspaper editor. Interests include dogs, trivia, road trips, bad weather, bad jokes, and good food. She is currently working on her third through seventh novels. She advises you not to eat tomatoes over your keyboard.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on May 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in 2003, and again in 2010 and loved it even more, if possible, the second time. Caren Lissner is a wonderful writer, and Carrie's journey made me look at my own life a little more closely. "You can't judge a book by it's cover" has never been more true by the way. I'm not sure what they were going for here, but Carrie is anything but frilly and frivolous. Her words are insightful, Caren's sense of humor is witty, observant and dry, and this is a book women and men should read - ESPECIALLY everyone entering or exiting college. Her lessons learned apply to all as she reminds us to live life with an open mind.

Oh - and I just found out the ARE making it into a movie!!! #carriepilby and [...] I can't wait!!!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "j_r_arnold" on May 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is extremely funny and fun to read, but it also made me think. I actually wrote down a few of the lines and told them to a friend, because there are many good quotable observations here about society.
Carrie Pilby is a 19-year-old genius who graduated from Harvard last year. She has spent her life getting good grades and didn't socialize much with people her own age. Now she lives in New York and her psychologist gives her a list of goals, like going on a date and joining a club. She is very moral, though, and findsit hard to tolerate all the 'hypocrisy' among people in the city. (She also talks about all the hypocrisy there was back at college, and it really reminded me of some things from my own college days). She tries to understand religion, make friends, and get to know different types of people.
Carrie starts off very judgemental, and after some funny adventures and foiled social outings, she slowly learns not to judge so much. A big dilemma is when she meets a guy she's attracted to but who is morally off limits. Should she be like everyone else and just have her fun?
I think most people will get something out of it...maybe different things for different people. As a bonus, I also think I'll do a lot better at the "word origins" category on Jeopardy now! I laughed, but I learned some things, too. It gives you a lot to think about and talk about, especially the whole idea of 'fitting in' as Carrie's attempts to avoid changing in negative ways just to fit in with society. I also enjoyed the cast of characters.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Farley on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was not like the typical Red Dress Ink books I've read where the heroine is a single relationship/fashion obsessed young woman in the big city trying to find love and committment.
This was more about a unique young woman trying to find her place in her world, with the focus placed mostly on her emotional well-being and her acceptance of others.
Carrie Pilby is very much like the young Amelie from the movie "Amelie." She's young, single, quirky, shy and lonely. Both Carrie and Amelie are curious about the world around them and long to fit in, to find love, to make friends and to express themselves as individuals without fear of rejection.
But Carrie differs greatly from Amelie in personality. Where Amelie was gracefully generous and tentatively curious, Carrie is cynical, suspicious and overanalytical. Though both women embark on missions to help virtual strangers, Amelies's reasons are more unselfish - she just wants to see these people happy. Carrie's reasoning is more to prove a point - to teach someone a lesson in morality.
Carrie Pilby has been isolated from others nearly her whole life because she's a prodigy. She skipped three grades in school and graduated from Harvard before the age of 19. As the book begins, we find a shy, sarcastic person who struggles to understand morality and hypocrisy. Since she has had limited social experiences, she's on the verge of defining morality thanks to her therapist, who has provided her a with a list of goals to achieve before the year's end. Carrie approaches the goals in a somewhat unconventional manner with the intent of quickly just getting the list completed, but learns some unexpected lessons about human rationalization.
I highly recommend this book.
Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By david on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Carrie Pilby is one odd chick. To me, that's a good thing. So I was looking forward to spending some time with the inner life of this 19 year old genius - it was her crazy-but-yet-insightful explanation of why one shouldn't disclose the titles of movies one rents to any old body (the witty beginning of the novel, and I think you can read it on Amazon) that drew me in.
So why didn't I love the book? The usual reasons: Carrie's sad and lonely and can't figure out how to make things better and after a while listening to her observations felt more claustrophobic than lapidary. Not implausible, but also not so fun, and it made the end seem more tacked on as a genre requirement than realistically cathartic.
One thing that I liked: the book is kind of yay sin. Carrie and her friends sometimes do things they oughtn't, things they might regret, but the book's fair about why they do these things anyway and some of the pleasures, as well as the pains, that come from them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Krisilou VINE VOICE on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Carrie Pilby is a genius, but this fact alone doesn't make her life easy or enjoyable. She sees a therapist, works as a temp, and suffers from odd mental malaise. I found her insights to be believable, yet often annoying. Having known several people like Carrie in my life, (No, I'm not a genius!!) I can relate to the ways the other characters in the novel interact with her.
I think this book definitely gives Red Dress Ink some credibility. This strays from the usual poor, loveless fashion hopeless protagonist and gives us someone who readers can truly empathize with. This is a fast read and a fabulous insight to the lonely world of "geniushood."
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