Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Carrie Pilby- Caren Lissner

Teen Genius (and Hermit) Carrie Pilby's To-Do List:
1. List 10 things you love (and DO THEM!)
2. Join a club (and TALK TO PEOPLE!)
3. Go on a date (with someone you actually LIKE!)
4. Tell someone you care (your therapist DOESN'T COUNT!)
5. Celebrate New Year's (with OTHER PEOPLE!)
Seriously? Carrie would rather stay in bed than deal with the immoral, sex-obsessed hypocrites who seem to overrun her hometown, New York City. She's sick of trying to be like everybody else. She isn't! But when her own therapist gives her a five-point plan to change her social-outcast status, Carrie takes a hard look at herself—and agrees to try.
Suddenly the world doesn't seem so bad. But is prodigy Carrie really going to dumb things down just to fit in?

Received for my honest review from NetGalley

I started reading this book thinking that I was really going to enjoy it—the heroine’s voice was appealing, and I’ve always enjoyed reading about intellectual, social-outcast characters. However, it quickly became apparent that it wasn't very plot driven, and Carrie Pilby was more of a character study than a gripping novel.

One of the things that turned me off, besides the plot, was the fact that the book occasionally toed the line between politically correct and offensive, especially when mentioning derogatory terms about race or sexuality. I’m not particularly touchy about books that mention sensitive topics, but having grown up in a country that’s often misrepresented in the media and popular opinion, I feel that it’s important to respect people of all types.

I didn’t actually empathize much with Carrie, as I thought her social awkwardness was very stereotypical, and a lot of her habits made me lose any respect for her I’d gained at the start. For example, she doesn’t make any effort to get a permanent job, because the people interviewing her don’t understand her. Fortunately, her financially secure father is able to support her, but in a character who was meant to be mature and intelligent, I saw this as a bit of a flaw.

There was a lot of discussion of ethics and philosophy, which I did enjoy, and if you’re into deep thinking that aspect of the book might appeal to you. The characterization is also very good, which I appreciated.

In short: If you’re into philosophical character studies, this might be for you. If you’re not—Carrie Pilby might not be your cup of tea.


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