Saturday, August 13, 2005

Girl, 15, Charming But Insane, by Sue Limb

Jess Jordan's imagination is a wild one, and often blinds her from the realities in front of her. The result is a complex comedy of errors as her group of friends struggle through relationships and school. The story is lightened by "horrorscopes" that precede each chapter and Jess's self-deprecatory humor.

The book's British slang can be a bit jarring to American readers, but it rings true for the demographic. And the clever humor makes this a brisk and light read. Not a book of huge substance, but funny and amusing.

I'm a bit cold to it, I suppose, because I don't like comedies of errors -- that is, comedy that relies on the characters' unwillingness to tell each other the truth. Such devices make the story too easy to wrap up. After spending a whole novel engaging in stupid acts driven by what each character THINKS the others want, all they need to do is sit down and talk and they realize the error of their ways, and everyone lives happily ever after. That is a bit too easy and not terribly enlightening or uplifting. Never mind the wince factor while the story unfolds.

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