Friday, April 4, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Clever Girl

Author: Tessa Hadley
Title: Clever Girl
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb:

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime—an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today. Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley’s involving and moving novel follows Stella from childhood, growing up with her single mother in a Bristol bedsit, into the murky waters of middle age.

It is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley’s observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles, pressing us to exclaim with each page, Yes, this is how it is.

Review: I have to say Tessa Hadley's novel Clever Girl left me a bit befuddled. Stella seldom came across as a Clever Girl. In fact, many of her life decisions made me think she was more a foolish girl. She was a hard character to like and as the story progressed, though she showed signs of being "clever" she wasn't really.

I didn't like Stella, much at all. I wanted to warm to her, but she was just not someone I could really invest any emotion in. It is supposed to be a story about ordinary life, but it is really anything but. Stella is so messed up.Her family is so messed up and she just follows suit, only she has a brain. She could have been something early on, but she made so many mistakes, mistakes that ordinary people make, but somehow because they happen so often to her, it makes the ordinary, less ordinary.

So much of her life seemed to go back to her boyfriend from her teenage years, and when she gets to see him again, it is very anti-climatic.

I really had to plod my way through this one, which is a shame because the book was well written, it was just Stella.

It took me days to get through a book that only had 250 pages is not a good. I wanted to like this book so much, but it just didn't work out for me.

Rating: 3 flowers

About Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All Right; The Master Bedroom; and The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of two short-story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, both of which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She lives in London.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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