The Smart One

By Jennifer Close

Weezy Coffey’s parents had always told her she was the smart one, while her sister was the pretty one. “Maureen will marry well,” their mother said, but instead it was Weezy who married well, to a kind man and good father. Weezy often wonders if she did this on purpose—thwarting expectations just to prove her parents wrong.

But now that Weezy’s own children are adults, they haven’t exactly been meeting her expectations either. Her oldest child, Martha, is thirty and living in her childhood bedroom after a spectacular career flameout. Martha now works at J.Crew, folding pants with whales embroidered on them and complaining bitterly about it. Weezy’s middle child, Claire, has broken up with her fiancé, canceled her wedding, and locked herself in her New York apartment—leaving Weezy to deal with the caterer and florist. And her youngest, Max, is dating a college classmate named Cleo, a girl so beautiful and confident she wears her swimsuit to family dinner, leaving other members of the Coffey household blushing and stammering into their plates.

As the Coffey children’s various missteps drive them back to their childhood home, Weezy suddenly finds her empty nest crowded and her children in full-scale regression. Martha is moping like a teenager, Claire is stumbling home drunk in the wee hours, and Max and Cleo are skulking around the basement, guarding a secret of their own. With radiant style and a generous spirit, The Smart One is a story about the ways in which we never really grow up, and the place where we return when things go drastically awry: home.

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I bought this book on Kindle a few months back because it’s similar to the book I’m pitching right now. I started a few times, but never finished it until recently.

I think reading on a Kindle is a totally different experience that reading a book. I find myself losing track of time more and just flipping, flipping, flipping pages because they are so short and it’s so easy to keep turning and keep going.

Did I like this book? I’m not sure. Most of the characters annoyed me. I only liked Claire and Cleo. I totally understood Claire who just kind of finds herself back at home with her parents and poor, poor Cleo who never made a mistake until she made the worst one of all. Martha made me want to rip my hair out she was that annoying. The section where she insisted that the bridesmaids where matching dresses for her cousin’s wedding (where her cousin said they could wear whatever), made me want to punch her. And the mother, Weezy, was really no better, planning a fake wedding just because she’s bored.

The other things that was annoying was the structure. There are only four narrators so you would think that their sections would keep the same order the whole way through. But no. The book jumped around between them.

There was no real growth for most of the characters, no major dramatic arc that wrapped up in the end of the book. It just kind of ended.

But I couldn’t put this book down.

So I did I love it? No. Did I like it enough to keep frantically reading it? Yes.

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