Sometimes you're just in the mood for an epistolary read, it's a form I really like but don't find them that often. The urge had been building for some time and I knew I had this book lying about the house, and happily I had enough free time in November to allow me to dig out Feeling Sorry for Celia. And I'm very glad I did.
Feeling Sorry for Celia is an epistolary novel with multiple points of view. Both favourite styles for me. 16 year old Elizabeth Clarry lives in the suburbs of North West Sydney with her Mum, and the two communicate a lot with notes. At times this reminded me of Life on the Refrigerator Door which I read a few years ago. Elizabeth's parents have separated and Christina's Mum is busy with work and her Thursday night poetry club. There are also notes in italics from groups such as The Association of Teenagers, The Society of Talented and Interesting Correspondents and COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION. It took me a while to work these out, but they're fun and often rather funny.
Elizabeth goes to Ashbury, her local private school and her English teacher assigns the class a task to write to a student in the neighbouring public school, Brookfield, which is only a block away.
I'm only writing it because of Mr Botherit. He's our new English teacher and he seems really upset that the Art of Letter Writing is lost to the Internet generation, so he's going to rekindle the joy of the ENVELOPE. Next he's going to bring in a club and a sabre tooth tiger and rekindle the joy of the STONE AGE.If Mr Botherit was upset by the Internet generation of 2000 just imagine how upset he would be by them now! Elizabeth's pen pal is Christina Kratovac. Naturally the girls talk about their families, their school, the boys who sit at the back of the bus.
A VERY IMPORTANT THING for you to know is that I'm NOT a nice private school girl. And I know I'm not, cause most of the other girls here are like that. They take clarinet lessons and go to pony club. And they do this things whenever I'm talking to them where they blink their mascara'd lashes really quickly as if they need to take lots of little breaks from looking at me.
They also talk about Elizabeth's best friend Celia who is a troubled soul and often prone to going missing, and indeed Celia is missing for much of the book.
He also says there used to be a fairy princess girl, with long feathery blonde hair, who used to sit with you, only he hasn't seen her for ages. Is that Celia? He said he used to watch you two, and Celia always looked tiny and not-quite there, like she was just about to float through the bus window and fly away like a kite.
I really enjoyed Feeling Sorry for Celia and whizzed through it in just a few days- I think that's one of the reasons I really like epistolary novels- they are often super quick reads which is good for a slow, plodding reader like me. I had thought that Feeling Sorry for Celia was a stand alone book when I read it. It was at the time it was written I think, but it came to be the first of four Ashbury/Brookfield books- though the four books are loosely connected and don't have to be read in order! As if.