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Feeling Sorry for Celia: A Novel Hardcover – March 8, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coyly channeling teen quirkiness and enthusiasm, Moriarty captures the essence of a girl's adolescent years in her epistolary first novel. Consisting entirely of letters and notes written to and from protagonist Elizabeth Clarry, this peek into the life of an Australian teenager reads like a clandestine perusal of a very capably written diary. The daughter of divorced parents, Elizabeth is becoming reacquainted with her father, who has recently returned to Australia and wants to make up for all the time with her he's missedAthis consists primarily of dragging her to expensive restaurants. Her life is further complicated by her best friend, Celia Buckley, who careens from one escapade to the next, confident someone else will bail her out. An English assignment lands Elizabeth a pen pal from a neighboring school, and she is becoming a serious long-distance runner, but Celia (and boys, of course) are serious distractions. Holding her own despite internal doubts, Elizabeth navigates the murky waters of adolescence essentially alone. Her mother is a parody of a contemporary career woman: emotionally dependent and immersed in her job at an ad agency, she leaves dizzy notes (many of which are no more than thinly veiled pleas for help with ad campaigns) around the house for Elizabeth, who is left to cook, clean and look after herself. Although adults may find the novel cloying at times, and younger readers might miss some of the humor (especially where the behavior of the adults is concerned), this teen's journey of self-discovery is a pleasant, feather-light distraction. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Life isn't going well for high school student Elizabeth Clarry. Her absentee father just moved back to Australia from Canada for a year, and now he wants to spend "quality time" with her. She's getting anonymous love notes from a boy who refuses to tell her his name. Worst of all, her best friend has run away and joined the circus. In this funny, engaging novel-told as a series of notes and letters-Elizabeth deals with imperfect parents and romantic disappointments as well as tragedies large and small. Over the course of the story, she confronts everything from pimples and forgotten homework to the death of a pet and a suicide attempt by her best friend. Eventually, Elizabeth learns to stop obsessing over the flighty, thoughtless Celia and comes to appreciate her own gifts. Her intelligence and wry sense of humor come through strongly in her letters to her mother and her friends. Elizabeth's ditzy mother and new pen pal are especially vivid characters. At times the story tries to juggle too many plot elements, but, overall, this is a light, enjoyable novel about a memorable young woman.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st U.S. ed edition (March 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312269234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312269234
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,465,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on April 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Feeling Sorry for Celia because the plot seemed interesting and was also curious about reading a book from an Australian author. I marvel at this little gem! Written in the form of letters, 15-year-old Elizabeth Clarry tries to figure out what to do with her troubled best friend Celia while struggling with the growing pains of adolescence via imaginary letters from the "Association of Teenagers" and "Cold Hard Truth Association" -- which are hilarious -- while connecting well with a pen-pal named Christina and dealing with her eccentric mother who leaves little notes in the kitchen and putting up with a wayward Dad who suddenly wants to be more involved in her life.
I laughed from beginning to end. The neurotic characters and sometimes poignant situations made it even more fun to read. This novel about an endearing young adult could be enjoyed by any age group. It is no wonder it became the #1 Bestseller in Australia! Possibly one of, if not the best novel I've read all year! I so recommend it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Budd on May 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Feeling Sorry for Celia is a witty and realistic account of the many trials and tribulations of today's teens. Jaclyn Moriaty uses the lost art of letter writing to connect her characters and tell their stories. This concept was both refreshing and enlightening.
The novel centers around, somewhat awkward and shy, Elizabeth Carry. The reader is pulled into Elizabeth's world via notes from her unconventional mother and crazy best friend Celia. Elizabeth, who attends a private school, is matched with a girl, Christine that attends public school in her teacher's efforts to connect the two schools. This process of connection also has Christine and Elizabeth being pen pays. Moriatry also is successful at adding the negative thoughts that often pervade our minds. Again, this is done in the form of letters from such organizations as 'The Cold Hard Truth Society.'
Elizabeth is faced with numerous challenges and obstacles as she analyzes her relationships with her parents and friends. The greatest learning is how Elizabeth discovers herself amidst her semi-chaotic life.
Feeling Sorry for Celia is a novel not to miss. This is a great read for the young and those that cringe when they think of their teen years. This novel will have you traveling down memory lane or shaking your head in agreement!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This Book was a great book and it was funny and sweet. It's about a teenage girl called Elizabeth Clarry. Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth Clarry. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, she was first worrying about her when she didn't get on the bus one morning. Her absent father that was living in Canada 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," She end's up writing to a Complete and Utter Stranger that ends up knowing 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 that it takes to write a letter.
No.1 best seller 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 organisations 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 it should be. I thought that this was a very interesting book and after research I was not surprised it was No.1 best seller in Australia.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
'Feeling Sorry for Celia' is now one of my favorite books. It's about a girl, Elizabeth Clarry, who lives in Australia with her mother (her father left when Elizabeth was a baby). Elizabeth is best friends with Celia Buckley, but Celia always runs away from home. Usually, Celia comes back after about a week or so, but this time, she has been gone longer than usual.
Elizabeth's communication with her mother is only notes that are left on the refrigerator for each other. Meanwhile, at school, Elizabeth's teacher, Mr. Botherit, assigns 'pen pals' to each person. Elizabeth writes to Christina Kratovac, and soon they develop a friendship through letters.
Elizabeth deals with all of these things in her life- her hobby of running and participating in marathons, a best friend who has run away from home, a pen pal with other problems, communicating through notes with her mother, and going out to awkward dinners with her father. Her father also has a family that lives in Canada that Elizabeth has never met, and her father doesn't seem too anxious for her to meet them.
I would definitely recommend this book to any teenage girl, I'm sure it won't disappoint you!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jennie Cisna on March 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for women of all ages. The entire book is written in letters, either from real people, or the Imaginary organizations like the Association of Teenagers (trust me, it makes sense in the book) It tells the story of Elizabeth, and her dealings with her parents (who are divorced), with her best friend, Celia, and a new pen-pal, Christina.
Elizabeth's mother is loving, but often gone (but leaves hilarious notes to her daughter. Celia, her best friend, actually ran off to the circus. Her father is a bit of a lout, and the guy Elizabeth likes, likes Celia more. The only real constant in her life right now is Christina.
This book is hilarious, exploring the difficulties of growing up with humor and grace. Elizabeth and Christina are like every 15 year old, just a little bit cooler. I *loved* this book (and I'm hard to please).
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