Review of “I, Lorelei” by Yeardley Smith (For Ages 8-12)

Lorelei Connelly is a humorous and precocious 11-year-old who begins a diary addressed to her cat Mud, following Mud’s demise. She loves and misses Mud, and sometimes checks with him about his afterlife: “So what do you do all day in Heaven? Is it like camp? Do the cats get along with the dogs? Do you have your own cloud?” Occasionally, she gives Mud messages for God, whom Lorelei assumes is a woman: “Well, of course God is a She. Who else could do seven million things at once?”


Every day she tells Mud all that happens, which includes her getting a part in the school musical, handling a bully, getting to know the school “reject,” reacting to “first love,” and dealing with the unraveling of her parents marriage. She approaches all these subjects with candid introspection, and all of the wisdom that a young adolescent can muster (especially one who was advised regularly on coping by her late grandpa).

This is yet another young adult book that bears a common message. As Lorelei puts it to Mud: “…if Mom and Dad are going to do whatever they want, I need to learn to take care of myself. I’m not really sure how to do that, but I’m going to figure it out. Cause you never know what’s going to happen, Mud. You just never know. And you don’t want to be out in the world without your butter and eggs, as Grandpa used to say.”

The diary theme is common, the message is common, and even some of the incidents that happen have happened in literature before. Yet this doesn’t take away from Lorelei’s charm. She is a delightful young person: intelligent but not too much so, not always mature (but mature often enough to earn our respect), kind, loving, and funny, and always alert for the next great thing.

Published by HarperCollins, 2009.


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