Clever Girl

Clever Girl

by Tessa Hadley


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062270399
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Series: P.S.
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly acclaimed novels, including Clever Girl and The Past, as well as three short-story collections, most recently Bad Dreams and Other Stories, which won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker; in 2016 she was awarded the Windham Campbell Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. She lives in London.

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Clever Girl 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a deep, complex novel about one woman's life. The writing reminds me of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters; those classic British heroines with all their frailties. I fell in love with Stella, this novels heroine, and I very much enjoyed growing old with her. ~*~LEB~*~
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
For me CLEVER GIRL is a mixed bag. Tessa Hadley had me thoroughly convinced with Stella's story. Completely believable. I can't say I liked Stella nor can I say I thought she made good decisions, but Tessa wrote a character who felt so true and Stella was always true to character. Not only was Stella's character real, but the world around her. I could almost feel the avocado shag carpeting under my feet as I read. I was transported into Stella's story. I didn't like Stella. I wanted better for Stella. But Stella carves out a life, which is true to her. It's hard to explain, you have to read it. I felt I walked away from CLEVER GIRL understanding people a bit more. Her choices and life path are foreign to me, but she made me respect her differences. I feel like I understand a generation I didn't know before. For as much as I didn't like the story, I loved it. For as much as I didn't like Stella, I loved her. I recommend you take a trip to your local bookstore and open CLEVER GIRL up. This isn't a 'typical' read, not a 'typical' story. It is very good, but may not be for everyone. I do want to say I think you should take time and read a few chapters. CLEVER GIRL by Tessa Hadley is the exact reason why I became a book reviewer. I knew I wanted to experience new genres and writing techniques, I may have otherwise not tried. If you are looking for a more unique experience in your reading selections, than I recommend CLEVER GIRL.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
Clever Girl follows the life of Stella, the daughter of a single mother, from her childhood through middle age. The writing is spectacular. Hadley's prose made me feel as if I could see Stella's history and her current life all at once: Stella as the young girl I met at the beginning of the novel, and at the same time, Stella as the adult narrator, a mother with two children. However, I had issues with Stella's relationship with her mother and stepfather, as well as her connection to a creepy teacher who turns into a dear friend. The dynamic between Stella and these characters shifted suddenly and without much (if any) explanation. I had trouble believing or understanding these shifts; a bit more detail would have remedied that. This novel has a definite sense of ennui throughout, which may not be appealing to some readers. There is plenty of drama in Stella's life, but plenty of ordinary as well. I think readers who enjoy character-driven novels (I couldn't help but think of Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings) will enjoy Clever Girl. 3 1/2 stars. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Most people lead ordinary lives, and their stories may not be that fascinating to others. Stella is one of those people in Tessa Hadley's Clever Girl.  Stella lived with her single mother in a city in 1960s England. Her mother told her that her father had died when Stella was a baby, but Stella learned that he had actually left them. She was close to her mother, as it was just the two of them. That is, until the day Stella's mother remarries, and Stella gets a stepfather and then a baby brother.  Stella does well in school, she is a clever girl, until she discovers boys and falls madly in love with Val. They spend all of their time together, but something is not quite right. Stella makes one mistake that changes her entire life and future. Instead of graduating and going to university, Stella becomes pregnant, and Val heads off the United States to avoid trouble, not even knowing he will be a father. Clever Girl realistically shows the difficulties of being an unwed mother, having a child so young. Stella and the baby move from her mother's home to stay with her aunt. I love this description of Stella at this time:"I wasn't quite grateful enough; this was just a flaw in my character at that time in my life, I couldn't help seeing things bitterly, looking at everything-even kindness- with irony."Stella ends up working and living at a boys boarding school. She leaves there to move in with Fred, an old teacher of Val's, who now teaches at the boarding school.  From there she ends up living at a commune, having another baby. She has two young sons to support and no good job prospects. She moves back in with Fred, who adores her sons. Stella's life suffocates her, and she takes to running away; she drops the boys off at her mother's, and then she runs away, not knowing when she will return. Stella finally gets to be a clever girl when she goes to university. Like many older students, she focused on working hard and succeeding."It was such a relief to be clever at last. For years I had to keep my cleverness cramped and concealed- not because it was dangerous or forbidden but because it had no useful function my daily life."We get to see Stella from childhood to middle-age and though she may be an ordinary person,Hadley tells her story in such a compelling way as to make her life interesting to the reader. It took me awhile to appreciate Stella, but by the end of the novel, I truly did. Clever Girl reminded me of Colm Toibin's Brooklyn and Alice McDermott's Someone, both in style and substance. All three of these celebrate the life of an ordinary woman, leading a quiet, yet ultimately meaningful life.