Carrie Pilby
Caren Lissner
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Carrie Pilby

Caren Lissner
Red Dress Ink
336 pages
June 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Meet Carrie Pilby, a nineteen-year-old prodigy who has already graduated from Harvard and is having a difficult time finding people who can relate to her genius and keep her interest. It doesnít help that Carrie is unemployed (she lives off her rich father) and doesnít have any consistent way to meet people. Her therapist, Dr. Petrov, tries to help Carrie fit in with society, but itís difficult when Carrie looks down on everyone with a lower IQ than her own (which includes almost everyone in the city of New York). Dr. Petrov diagnoses Carrie as being depressed, but Carrie isnít buying it. She simply thinks that everyone else has problems that she is above having, and therefore not good enough to be in her life.

The entirety of Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner is a character study, and, if you donít like the character, you probably wonít enjoy the book. Carrie is difficult to like in at least the first half of the book; she is one of those people who puts everyone down and then wonders why she doesnít fit in. She doesnít seem to want to even try to a) enjoy her life, b) get a real job, or c) do anything that will help her on her road to socialization. She prefers to stay in her apartment, read her books, watch her movies, and wonder why everyone else is so screwed up.

However, as the book progresses, Carrie begins to grow on the reader as she makes repeated attempts to find friends, dates and groups to fit into. Carrieís methods are unorthodox, as you would expect from a child prodigy, and include actions such as joining a prophetís church to expose them as a cult and going out with an engaged man so she can snitch on him. Carrie also manages to find a friend through a part-time proofreading job and finds herself going to clubs and parties, events that she abhorred and put down at the beginning of the book.

While Carrie can be annoying with her sometimes holier-than-thou attitude, sheís also amusing and often comes up with concepts and theories that are quite intriguing. If you can get over her snobbery and self-defeating tendencies in the beginning of the book, youíll begin to enjoy getting to know Carrie Pilby and will enjoy Lissnerís cute little novel.

© 2003 by Angela McQuay for Curled Up With a Good Book

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