The Smart One by Jennifer Close

59%

9 Critic Reviews

The resolution of the book is a bit soft. There is no real feeling of satisfaction that something happened and some real solid victory can be claimed.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

With her best-selling debut, Girls in White Dresses (An “irresistible, pitch-perfect first novel” —Marie Claire), Jennifer Close captured friendship in those what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. Now, with her sparkling new novel of parenthood and sibling rivalry, Close turns her gimlet eye to the only thing messier than friendship: family.

Weezy Coffey’s parents had always told her she was the smart one, while her sister was the pretty one. “Maureen will marry well,” their mother said, but instead it was Weezy who married well, to a kind man and good father. Weezy often wonders if she did this on purpose—thwarting expectations just to prove her parents wrong.

But now that Weezy’s own children are adults, they haven’t exactly been meeting her expectations either. Her oldest child, Martha, is thirty and living in her childhood bedroom after a spectacular career flameout. Martha now works at J.Crew, folding pants with whales embroidered on them and complaining bitterly about it. Weezy’s middle child, Claire, has broken up with her fiancé, canceled her wedding, and locked herself in her New York apartment—leaving Weezy to deal with the caterer and florist. And her youngest, Max, is dating a college classmate named Cleo, a girl so beautiful and confident she wears her swimsuit to family dinner, leaving other members of the Coffey household blushing and stammering into their plates.

As the Coffey children’s various missteps drive them back to their childhood home, Weezy suddenly finds her empty nest crowded and her children in full-scale regression. Martha is moping like a teenager, Claire is stumbling home drunk in the wee hours, and Max and Cleo are skulking around the basement, guarding a secret of their own. With radiant style and a generous spirit, The Smart One is a story about the ways in which we never really grow up, and the place where we return when things go drastically awry: home.


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
 

About Jennifer Close

See more books from this Author
Jennifer Close was born and raised on the North Shore of Chicago. She is a graduate of Boston College and received her MFA in Fiction Writing from The New School in 2005. She worked in New York in magazines for many years and then in Washington, D.C., as a bookseller. Girls in White Dresses is her first book.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by Vintage. 434 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Smart One
All: 9 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 01 2013

An unassuming but far from vacuous domestic comedy, perfect for the beach or a long plane trip.

Read Full Review of The Smart One | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on May 27 2013

All the messy, complicated issues of family relationships, trying to be a grownup, and trying to be a parent are on display in Close’s novel about three grown children...

Read Full Review of The Smart One | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Mar 04 2013

There are great stories to be told about families in “boomerang,” but this isn’t one of them.

Read Full Review of The Smart One | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Rhetta Akamatsu on Dec 28 2013

The resolution of the book is a bit soft. There is no real feeling of satisfaction that something happened and some real solid victory can be claimed.

Read Full Review of The Smart One | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Apr 03 2013

...this bighearted novel examines a generation of nonstarters with a mix of empathy and Close's signature deadpan, pathos-driven humor.

Read Full Review of The Smart One

Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Virginia Pasley on Jun 04 2013

Her novel will not only make the reader sympathize more with much-maligned Millennials, but with anyone confronting an unexpected future.

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City Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Benford on Jun 06 2013

Here’s what happens when you move back home to take advantage of free rent and at least two square meals a day: you regress...Life marches on.

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Palatine Public Library

Good
Reviewed by CarlyT on Apr 23 2013

The Smart One is a great book for readers who like reading about flawed but sympathetic characters and family stories in the vein of Jodi Picoult or Kristin Hannah.

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Portland Book Review

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin on May 08 2013

These characters left me saying, “Eh…ok,” and not feeling fulfilled as a reader...I was left wanting more.

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Reader Rating for The Smart One
67%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 201 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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