Review: I, Lorelei

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.)
Dear Mud,
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, 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!).

Five Stars!

*Note: apologies for the lack of cover art with this review! The publisher has yet to release their official cover at this point. But the book is, nonetheless, available for pre-order at Amazon.

Release Date: January 27, 2009
Title: I, Lorelei
Author: Yeardley Smith
352 pages
Publisher: Laura Geringer
(Harper Collins Children's)

Other reviews out in BlogLand:
The Bluestocking Society


  1. This one is in my TBR pile. It sounds like I need to get to it sooner rather than later. I need to think of a young lady to give it to when I'm through.

  2. I recognized the author from her picture, not from the Simpsons reference. Apparently I'm not a big Simpsons fan. LOL I will be buying this for my daughter. Sounds perfect for her. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I had no idea she was the author!! I love her as Lisa Simpson and I still remember her funny character from that movie Ode to Billie Jean with a very young Christian Slater. This book sounds good - I think I may pick it up for my 12 year old and she what she thinks. Hey, maybe I can get her to guest post? Yah right.

  4. This sounds fantastic Michele.

    Not what I'm used to seeing you review, but great nonetheless!


  5. Isn't she just so cute! Can you pinch a grown woman's cheek? Or is that weird?

  6. Shana - for some reason, I've been reading a lot of YA lately. Not sure what that's about.

    Amy - yes, that would be weird. :p

  7. ohh I hope I need to get it for ME! no no m not 9-12 :D but i enjoy books like these! i want to re-live my 11 yr old OLD self :D :)

  8. Veens - I know...don't you just love a book that feels like it was written for the "11 year old" you? It's a great feeling!

  9. Correction. She was in Legend of Billie Jean. I got mixed up with Ode to Billy Joe.

  10. I tried to get an ARC of this one but it hasn't shown up yet so I assume it is not going to. I have an 11 year old daughter that I thought would love something like this. Maybe, just maybe, it will show up this week. If not I'll put it on my wish list.

  11. Petunia - I hope you get this one because it is so perfect for an 11 year old! Fun, but not sappy at all. It's not so much about what happens to her, it's more about how she deals with life's problems that makes the book so neat.


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