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Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley
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Clever Girl (2013)

by Tessa Hadley

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2192686,858 (3.6)20
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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Clever Girl follows our main character, Stella, through all her struggles, decisions, and mistakes. You see the course of her life as if she was retelling it at an old age. There is a great deal of pain in her life caused by others and her own flaws. You get to know her in a very intimate, personal way. She's an ordinary woman that goes through life making the same mistakes that everyone else does. By having this story about someone who could be anyone there was a sense of connection I felt towards Stella. With all her faults and mistakes I couldn't help think about my own life and how I'll decide to live it. Even if someone knows what they want they can get sidetracked like Stella ultimately does at a very young age. Young love, early pregnancies to two fathers that aren't or can't be around, Stella faces it alone with the help of some strangers and some friends from time to time. She kind of becomes her mother which if pretty funny because I think that's what daughters (and even me) fear is going to happen to them. It's also funny when she starts mentioning her sons at points of the story even before they are born since her second born is clearly exactly like her wild, angry-at-the-world self.

Stella has an argumentative, push-and-pull personality and relationship as she develops in her teen years. You could just see where everything was going to go downhill. She was hanging around a boy who of course her mother and stepfather didn't approve of. Stella has never approved of her stepfather. Her angry side really came out when he came into the mix. I think when you're a teenager you go through this transition where you are pissed at your parents, the world, and everyone in it. You see only what you want. We don't really grow out of our selfishness that kids inherently have in them. I saw myself in the way she acted when she was younger. I wasn't nearly as rebellious, my rebelliousness was pretty much nonexistent - it was there in spirit, but I could still see the selfishness of not wanting to grow up that I'm sure many people grapple with.

You see her mature out of this stage of standoffishness towards others but you also see the mistakes she continues to make. I wanted to tell her to stop! You have something good. Stop messing it up. There's this air of sadness that comes with her life yet she does try her hardest to make her life better for her and her sons. She struggles so much! This story could be really tragic at times. There are those moments where she gets away from that sadness and I love those moments. I wanted to see her succeed. This book produced so much overwhelming emotions in me. It's a really great story about growing up and overcoming all the things thrown at you in life including your own misguided ways. ( )
  AdrianaGarcia | Jul 10, 2018 |
Strange story but pretty good. ( )
  mahallett | Jan 22, 2018 |
Episodes in the lives (sic) of a "clever girl", Stella, through the 1960s and a communal experience to the present. Beautifully done and set in and about London, Stella is thrust in a life-long journey of managing the "null" of reliving her Mum's life while retaining her clever observations and outlook on her own lives. Hadley infuses Stella with the ability to rule the day in a reflection of the past. ( )
  lar0que | May 20, 2017 |
I kept looking for who was supposed to be so "clever" in this book---the writing was good, beautifully descriptive but I wasn't thrilled with the main character and kept waiting for her to show that she really WAS clever...with her life? ( )
  nyiper | Dec 24, 2016 |
Perfect. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The word adventures carries in it so free and licentious a
sound. . .that it can hardly with propriety be applied to those few and natural incidents which compose the history of a woman of honour.
Charlotte Lennox,
The Female Quixote, 1752
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To Sam
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My mother and I lived alone.
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