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Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia (2000)

by Jaclyn Moriarty

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I thought it was going to be teenage fluff, but in the middle Shit Gets Real. Or as real as it can get with the caricaturish cast (negligent hippy-dippy Mom, flakey dad, Celia = classic Manic Pixie).

The letters from made-up associations are actually a clever way to get across the double-triple-guessing and self-criticism that make up a teenager's thought processes. The point after Elizabeth's dog died and Saxon and Maddie ended up together, and Lizzy was getting all the discouraging notes from these entities? I felt a shiver of recognition. That's exactly how depression talks.

Another thing I found I could personally relate to was the feeling of helplessness when your best friend gets sick, or is going through some things in her life, and you start to wonder about how things are between you and where you stand. How to be there for her? Was she really ever there for you? Should you even be thinking about in a reciprocal way? But in light of all these new developments, are you still best friends? Friends at all? Does old friend trump new friend?

There's a part where Elizabeth says that writing to Celia would be weird, because it would be like writing to her own self. Celia, without being told, should just *know*.

Then the letter from Celia of course shows that she had a different perspective on the same event. Just goes to show that we can't assume a person, even our BFF, will always remain our mind-twin.

The backbone of the story of course is the relationship between Elizabeth and Christina, and as it is with the epistolary format, it pulls you into what are supposed to be their intimate thoughts, so you feel connected with them sooner.

It was therefore so satisfying to watch how they started with a dumb school writing assignment and ended up to each other as the kind of best friend you'd have with you during a crisis. It's inspiring me to write all my friends and tell them, I'm sorry I've been so self-centered, and How have you really been? And since I have like, about 4 or 5, that shouldn't take long.

My takeaway from this is that I have to learn how to be a better pen friend, and real life friend. Actually, good friendship lessons all around in this book, messy incidents (almost suicide, teenage sex, cheating father) aside. How you don't have to pull a Grand Gesture to be Best Friend of The Year. Sometimes the best thing to do is just be attentive and Be There. And don't worry about how stupid and messy it feels, just write/call/chat/e-mail already. Etc.

I feel that this is turning cheesy so I'll leave it here. But the few people, you know who you are, you'll be hearing from me soon. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
Funny easy to read-About Elizabeth Clarry's life- She make a pen friend-her best friend runs away-a boy on her bus starts sending her anonymous notes- she meets her step-brother ( )
  Quilby | Jan 18, 2017 |
I was obsessed with letters because of this novel and made a very good friend that way. The story is harrowing because I sympathized with the narrator so much. She is flawed but interesting and not at all annoying. Most importantly everyone has an aspect of humor about them, it's really good.

Really funny and quirky novel (written in letters) about a girl who's even stranger best friend has gone missing, and no one is concerned. There is no reason to be, but you know, it's still anxiety creating. Fun adventures ensure.
  knotbox | Jun 17, 2016 |

Like the other [a:Jaclyn Moriarty|47290|Jaclyn Moriarty|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1199066598p2/47290.jpg] book I read recently ([b:Finding Cassie Crazy|12273769|Finding Cassie Crazy|Jaclyn Moriarty|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MZzFcykPL._SL75_.jpg|2161186]), 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.
( )
  FlanneryAC | Mar 31, 2013 |
Another reread of an old favorite. I love epistolary books anyhow, and this one is particularly amusing with letters from little clubs and societies that don't exist. I really enjoy the localized Australian content in the book, which might make it difficult for some American readers, but serves to really set the narrative. Beyond that, the descriptions of what each character is going through are very realistic and thoroughly engaging. ( )
  themythicalcodfish | Aug 1, 2012 |
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To my family, including Grandma, and to Colin
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Dear Ms Clarry,

It has come to our attention that you are incredibly bad at being a teenager.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312287364, Paperback)

A #1 Bestseller in Australia and Book Sense 76 Pick

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A #1 bestseller in Australia, this fabulous debut is a funny, touching, revealing story written entirely in the form of letters, postcards, and missives from imaginary organizations such as "The Cold Hard Truth Association." "Edgy and irreverent . . . a sharp, witty take on friendship, family, and the roller-coaster ride of adolescence."--"Gotham" magazine.… (more)

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