Published by Knopf/DoubleDay on April 2, 2013
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
People say that one of the reasons that Sex and the City did so well is because every woman could relate to every character. We all have a little bit of Charlotte, Samantha, Carrie, and Miranda in us, even if we don’t like to admit it. This is the exact same reason that I adored The Smart One by Jennifer Close. I could relate to each and every one of the main characters on some level, even if i didn’t want to admit it.
First we have Claire, who plunged herself into so much debt after her engagement ended that she had to move home to pay it off. While home, she reverts back to her teenage self and picks up with a high school crush who is living in his basement. Then we have Martha (age 30) simply never left the house and gave up nursing to work at J. Crew. Lastly, we have Max, a college senior who’s forced to move home with his pregnant girlfriend, Cleo, who no one knows he’s been living with. Put them all together under the same roof again and it’s like living with teenagers all over again, only much more entertaining.
You might be asking yourself how I could relate to all of these characters, so I’ll tell you. Like Claire, I moved home in my mid-20’s to save money, and like Martha, I spent a few too many years in retail. Granted, I’ve never brought home a pregnant girlfriend, but I can empathize nonetheless. And while I don’t have kids, I can absolutely see my own fantastic mother welcoming home all four of her children as adults and then wishing that we’d get it together. Luckily for her, this hasn’t happened. Yet.
The Smart One is both hilarious and heartbreaking. I desperately wanted the kids to get it together and let their parents be, but at the same time I knew that Wheezy, like many empty nesters, was glad to be needed again. There were some laugh out loud moments, like the two weeks that the fashion-modelesque Cleo spent in her bikini, and when the author compared the Boston accent to a chicken squawk (how dare she!). And then there were also some heartbreaking ones, like watching Max and Cleo find out and come to terms with being pregnant at 21 and Wheezy’s difficulty accepting her children’s ‘failures’.
By the time the book ended, I felt like I was part of the Coffey family. The author did such a great job of bringing the reader into the story that I had a vested interest in each of their successes. Anyone with siblings (especially sisters) or that is in their late 20’s-early 30’s should read this book because I can (almost) guarantee that you will relate to someone in the book. And if you don’t – it’s still a great read.
P.S. I also thought it was pretty neat that the one specific date in the entire book was July 15… and I read it on July 15.
Which of these characters do you think you would relate to? Why?