The Smart One
Jennifer Close has perfectly depicted the stress and chaos of returning to live at home as an adult. Written from the perspectives of four different women, The Smart One removes readers from the comfort of rooting for a single protagonist and instead shifts constantly between college-going Cleo, the slightly neurotic Martha, over-worrying Weezy, and debt-ridden Claire.
The Smart One attempts to avoid the stereotypes of mindless chick lit and focuses on issues that are more realistic than shopping and man-troubles. The characters’ challenges still fall firmly in the “first-world problems” category, but the shift from shopaholics and broken-hearted damsels is a welcome one. The characters, however, seem to lack the ability to think optimistically about anything, and I found myself nearly burned out from their constant complaints throughout the second part of the novel.
The solid writing and multiple characters with well-developed personalities do make the book an easy read—just don’t expect a fairy tale or 300 pages of diamond rings and shiny things.
- Katie Ryan