Carrie Pilby is complicated. At 19, she's a Harvard graduate and is saddened that she's usually the smartest person in the room. She does temp work as a legal proofreader but is supported by her wealthy father. She's never really had a boyfriend, but she had a relationship with one of her university professors. She prefers staying in to going out, but doesn't like being lonely. Her therapist gives her a five point plan to work on: list ten things you love, go on a date, join an organization, make plans for New Year's Eve, tell someone you care about them. Reluctant at first, slowly Carrie sees that by following through on this list her life is starting to change, and she's not sure how she feels about that.
Carrie can be a hard character to read about, because at time she pushes the reader away in the same way that she pushes the people around her. She's smart and sheltered, naive and experienced at the same time. It took me awhile, but Carrie eventually won me over, and I found myself caring about what happened to her. The characters that she meets are colourful but never detract focus from her. One of the strengths of this book is the conversations that Carrie has with practically everyone. These are conversations that span many pages, and Carrie just tears into them (even when she's not being particularly confrontational). People have different views, and there are all kinds of shades of gray. I was surprised to see that this book was originally published in 2003 and reprinted in 2010 (with the great cover seen above) because it doesn't read as dated at all; the characters and questions and topics (faith, spirituality, intelligence, sexuality, faithfulness, identity, friendship, romance, reality) are just as relevant today.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Starting from Square Two by Caren Lissner
The Daughters by Joanna Philbin
Manifest by Artist Arthur