Friday, September 17, 2010

Review - Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner (5/5 stars)

When I read the synopsis of this book I had to have it.  It's not the type of book I generally read, but it just sounded like something I would really like. I got an advanced reading copy through netgalley(dot)com to read.  It was a great read, a fun read, and the kind of read that really makes you think about the way you interact with the people around you.

Carrie Pilby is a genius.  She skipped three grades in elementary school and graduated from Harvard with a degree in phliosophy at the age of 19.  Although her mental development is outstanding, as with many super smart people, her social development is severely lacking.  She is living in an apartment her dad pays for, with no job, she spends most of her time sleeping and reading with no real interaction with others.  She is, as everyone in New York City is (according to her), seeing a therapist.  Her therapist makes her write up a list of things she will do to be more socially active.  This list has items on it like "join a group" and "go on a date".  Carrie, who is not used to failing an assignment, sets out to fulfill this list and finds out a lot about the people around her and even more about herself.

This book is very funny and very heartfelt.  Carrie is the type of person who has a direct line from her brain to her mouth and it makes for hilarious situations.  She is a great character, someone you can really care about but she is also kind of a jerk sometimes and has her faults.   Carrie has a serious chip on her shoulder about humanity; everyone is too dumb to be friends with, no one gets her, and there is no one out there that she should waste her precious intelligence getting to know.  I think a lot of people will relate to Carrie, especially those that are a bit more introverted.  I know I remember going through some of the things that Carrie goes through, for example walking into a room full of people and feeling completely alone or having a brain to mouth moment where everyone looks at you like "Oh My God, where did she come up with that."

Carrie also deals with a lot of moral issues.  She is a late bloomer sexually and has never seen the appeal of the over-drinking, sex-obsessiveness, and drug use that (supposedly) comes with the college experience.  It has always left her feeling a bit morally superior, yet left out.  I also related to this, and I am sure other people will.  I didn't drink in college and wasn't all that interested in boys in high school; there were just so many other interesting things to learn.  Carrie captures the awkwardness of being this type of person yet trying to fit in with "normal" people in their 20's really well.  She also has some interesting relationship baggage.  She got involved in a relationship with one of her professors in college and questions the rightness of that.  At one point she also gets involved with a guy who is seeing her even though he is engaged to someone else.  This really makes her question the morality of humans in general and question what is actually right.

Carrie changes throughout the book; although she still has a lot of things to work on by the end of the book.  I thought the overall message delivered was a good one and a vaild one; people need to remember that no matter how different we all are most people have something good and interesting about themselves to share, you just need to give them a chance.  The characterization in the book was excellent (very realistic people) and the plot well organized; making for a wonderful read that was hard to put down.

Overall I absolutely loved this book.  I related to what Carrie went through as a character and enjoyed watching her make the journey to a better socialized nineteen year old.  I loved the message that we, as humans, should be a bit more tolerant and accepting of each other.  I really enjoyed Lissner's writing style; it was fun, witty, very readable, and engaging.  I will be keeping an eye out for future books from her.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
 Carrie Pilby (Harlequin Teen)

1 comment:

  1. Awww, thanks for such a nice review! I like your blog...looks like you review a real variety of books. That's great!