Author, Tessa Hadley
Paperback, 352 pages
Published, March 4th 2014
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.
I always feel horrible when I receive a book to review and I end up not enjoying it, but that is exactly what happened here. I started the book a few different times before being able to finish. I never became engrossed in the story or felt driven to finish. I was never able to relate to Stella and honestly wasn't sure what the point of the book was.
Basically, Stella is telling you her history from her adult point of view. It starts with her childhood in England where she grows up in the 1960s and 1970s. She She seems to have a fairly interesting childhood, but the remainder of the book is not. In fact, I was bored. Stella has an ordinary life of friends, loves, jobs, and then becomes a mother. I just found nothing remarkable.
It is important to note that I received this book via TLC Book Tours in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Please check out the other stops on the tour here for other reviews and opinions.