The Smart One

The Smart One

by Jennifer Close
3.7 23


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The Smart One by Jennifer Close

The Coffey siblings are having a rough year. Martha is thirty and working at J. Crew after a spectacular career flameout; Claire has broken up with her fiancé and locked herself in her New York apartment until her bank account looks as grim as her mood; and the baby of the family, Max, is dating a knockout classmate named Cleo and keeping a very big, very life-altering secret. The only solution—for all of them—is to move back home. 

 But things aren’t so easy the second time around, for them or for their mother, Weezy. Martha and Claire have regressed to fighting over the shared bathroom, Weezy can’t quite bring herself to stop planning Claire’s thwarted wedding, and Max and Cleo are exchanging secretive whispers in the basement.  Jennifer Close’s funny and tender follow-up to her bestselling debut novel is a story about the ways in which we never really grow up, and the people we turn to when things go drastically wrong: family. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307743701
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 504,565
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Close is the bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses. 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. She now lives in Washington, DC, and teaches creative writing at George Washington University.

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The Smart One: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
aThe Coffey siblings are having a rough year. Martha is thirty and working at J. Crew after a spectacular career flameout; Claire has broken up with her fiancé and locked herself in her New York apartment until her bank account looks as grim as her mood; and the baby of the family, Max, is dating a knockout classmate named Cleo and keeping a very big, very life-altering secret. The only solution—for all of them—is to move back home. Dollycas’s Thoughts As a parent of adult children who have not left home or moved back home and then back out I was so looking forward to this book. Sadly I felt like “The Not Smart One” for sticking with this book. This one just fell flat for me. The characters just laid there on the page. One sister was whiny, one sister was in denial, the brother was young and had to grow up quickly, but still has to find out about real life out on his own. The mother was an enabler when it came to one child, distant from what the other two were going through and struggling to find herself outside of being just a mom. The father was totally disconnected from everyone. I guess I just was waiting for something earth shattering to happen and it didn’t. I was hoping something was going to happen on the annual trip to the shore but two trips there were two trips too many. I thought I maybe would see some of myself in the mom, but boy she did things like “spoiler alert” continue to plan her daughter’s wedding for months after it was cancelled! She continued to choose the flowers, go to food tastings and other “meetings” just for something to do. This women needs a job or a hobby or to volunteer for a good cause. Her husband seems to live in his den. He teaches at the local college but never seems to leave the house. I won’t even get started on the kids. I am just so glad they are not related to me! I am wavering between 2 or 3 starfish on this one. I did finish it. Read it to the very last page and enjoyed a few excerpts so I will give it 3 but if it you to try it is is definitely one to pick up from the library. 3 STAR
SandpiperDS More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Girls in White Dresses, but not this book by Jennifer Close. The storyline was boring, filled with "adult" children that can't get their act together, mainly due to the mother's doing everything for them their entire lives, which is a familar theme today. I guess that was the point of the story, but some of the characters got on my nerves, especially Weezy and Martha. There were some funny sentences but I kept waiting for something substantial to happen and it didn't.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings If you have a sibling, have you ever been compared or compared yourself to them?  I don't know if there is a soul out there that doesn't feel a little sibling rivalry.  The Smart One by Jennifer Close has two generations of sibling rivalry and what can happen when a family of adult children are all brought back home for an extended amount of time.
fireflymom More than 1 year ago
This book was a great peak into the life of a family with adult children who still have so many, many issues. I enjoyed the writing style which allowed for different viewpoints from the main characters. It is always interesting to me how different people can have such different views on the same subjects and this book brought to light the issues within a family and how a family deals with them without breaking up or freaking out. Great easy chic lit read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly i did not like this. I liked white dresses but hated this book. It rambled and i felt like the author aded things that did not make sence just to fill the book. Not a big fan
ambd More than 1 year ago
Great read depicting the complexity of family dynamics
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Girls in White Dresses and was so excited to read The Smart One. Jennifer Close did not disappoint.. the story was so relateable and I am so attached to the characters. It was hard to put the book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
While vacationing at the beach, I read the perfect beach book- Jennifer Close’s The Smart One. I read her previous novel, Girls in White Dresses, and liked it, but found it hard to relate the 20-something single girls, as I have passed that mark awhile ago. But The Smart One refers to Weezy Coffey, the fifty-something wife and mother of three adult children, so I was all about this book. Weezy is knee-deep in preparations for her daughter Claire’s wedding. Then the wedding gets called off and Claire goes into a tailspin, quitting her job too. So she must move back home to Pennsylvania, where oldest daughter Martha also lives. Martha was a nurse for a short time, but that didn’t work out, so she has been working as a manager at J. Crew. Martha has social issues; she really has no friends and never had a boyfriend. Coping with the world is not her best skill. Son Max is eighteen and away at college. Then he gets his girlfriend Cleo pregnant and they move into the basement. So now Weezy and her husband Will, who had been looking forward to an empty nest, find themselves with all three adult children back home. How did this happen? Weezy so enjoyed all of the wedding planning that she just never told the florist or the caterer that the wedding was off. She continued to meet with them, tasting menus and looking at gorgeous floral arrangements. What was the harm in that? I identified with Weezy, and winced when I saw characteristics in her that I do not like in myself. “Weezy had a high horse. And she could get on it whenever she wanted. Maureen used to always tease her when she’d go off on other people’s behavior. “Uh-oh”, she’d say. “Giddyup! Here comes the horse.” Ugh. Weezy not only had to deal with her children, but her elderly mother Bets and sister Maureen. The descriptions of family Thanksgiving celebrations and all of the maneuvering and trying to keep peace and not blow a gasket, well if you can’t relate to that, you’ve never had a family Thanksgiving. The story is told from alternating view points- Weezy, Martha, Claire and Cleo. Their voices are all distinct and strong , something I found a bit lacking in Girls in White Dresses. The details in this novel are so perfect. I loved the list of THINGS WE NEED that is taped to the refrigerator. When things got purchased, they were crossed off, and a new list was started. Max played hockey, and the descriptions and feelings that Weezy had about being a hockey mom brought me back to my days as a baseball mom. I don’t know how someone as young as Close was able to tap into that, but she sure did. She also nails the new parent feelings that Max and Cleo have when their baby is born. Those feeling you have of love mixed with sleeplessness mixed with exhaustion mixed with joy; it’s all right there. And I loved the idea of naming tables at your wedding after favorite books! Oh I wish I had thought of that 26 years ago. One of the characters, Jaz, a wise woman, tells Martha “It’s funny, you know. Not what I had planned for my life, but that’s how it works sometimes.” That pretty much sums up the theme of The Smart One. Life isn’t always what you dreamed; you play the cards you are dealt. The Smart One bridges the gap between young women starting out and older women, watching their children make mistakes and not knowing what to do. I think that women of all ages should read this, it will help them empathize and understand each other.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it, highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
7LakesReader More than 1 year ago
This says it all... I didn't finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this book is more of a slower read than some, I enjoyed it. She really develops the characters so you feel like you can understand them. I liked the different points of view as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been anticipating the next Jennifer Close novel and was not disappointed! Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We share news here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not like sez and the city could not read past pg19