I, Lorelei, by Yeardley Smith
You may recognize the name of this first-time author. She's quite famous in the entertainment world. She's worked in feature films, on Broadway and in television. (And in her spare time she knits, which is really cool in my book.) Here's a hint:
Yeardley Smith is perhaps best known for her work on television's The Simpsons, providing the voice of young Lisa Simpson. But now Yeardley can add something new to her resume: completely awesome author of a young adult novel called I, Lorelei.
A Quick Synopsis
Lorelei Lee Connelly is 11 and 1/4 years old and has decided to keep a diary so that when she becomes a famous writer/actress/chef someday, she'll remember the important things that happened to her when she was eleven. She's addressing this diary to her best friend who's now in heaven: Mud, the family cat and best listener around. Irritating brothers, a school yard bully, parents who can't get along and a middle school production of Peter Pan provide ample fodder for Lorelei and her strong moral compass provides creative solutions to her pre-teen problems are heartfelt and gratifying.
The Literary Criticism
I honestly cannot think of one single thing that I'd improve with this book. Lorelei is precocious, intelligent, insecure, and vulnerable. In short, everything a normal eleven year old should be. Ms. Smith has almost alarming insight into the mind of pre-teen girls because at no point does she belittle or negate the importance of Lorelei's problems, yet she does so without melodrama. It's perfect. The story doesn't have a fairy-tale ending and thank goodness because that might have ruined it. Instead, the satisfying conclusion involves Lorelei's realization that we cannot control the world around us and it is up to each of us to make our own happiness. (Okay, so she doesn't make it sound as preachy as I just did, but that's why she's the author and makes the big bucks while I just write reviews.)
How does it feel to be dead? Surely by now you've reached Heaven, which means you probably don't feel like a twenty-year-old cat with arthritis and kidney problems anymore. You probably feel great. All thawed out and everything.
About that: I'm sorry Mom put your body in the freezer! She was terribly upset when she found you dead in the yard. It was late, and she thought we should wait until morning to have your funeral. It was my idea to wrap you in a blanket, at least.
I, Lorelei, by Yeardley Smith
It's a simple one this time, folks.....buy this book. Buy a copy for every 9-12 year old girl you know and snag a copy for yourself. It's a wonderful story and I hope Ms. Smith continues to write. She is a true talent!
And now I'm going to go squirrel away my copy in the closet for my daughter to read someday (if I don't wear the pages out reading it again and again!).
pre-order at Amazon.
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Title: I, Lorelei
Author: Yeardley Smith
Publisher: Laura Geringer (Harper Collins Children's)
Other reviews out in BlogLand:
The Bluestocking Society