Saturday, March 14, 2020

I, Lorelei, by Yeardley Smith

After her cat dies, eleven year-old Lorelei starts writing letters to him, telling her late fur friend about her daily life.  She's acting in the school play, negotiating a friendship with an unpopular girl in her class, dealing with the fallout from her best friend, and watching her parents' marriage come apart.  At times lighthearted and funny, but also sobering and poignant, the letters show Lorelei dealing with lots of changes.

Smith (better known as the voice of Lisa Simpson) dabbles here with a enjoyable but unremarkable middle grade book.  Lorelei is a sympathetic companion and full of insights about her friends and family. The struggles she engages with will feel familiar and readers will instantly relate.  Given the rather lengthy nature of the book (340 pages), it is frustrating that nothing really get resolved.  Instead, we must settle for the satisfaction that Lorelei by the end is beginning to learn how to cope and accept responsibility for the things that are within her power to change.

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