Select one of the keywords
Things I Can't Explain: A Clarissa Novel    by Mitchell Kriegman order for
Things I Can't Explain
by Mitchell Kriegman
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Clarissa Darling had found her dream job as a journalist for the Daily Post. She started there as an intern for Hugh Hamilton. Having won a Pulitzer Prize with his skill as a columnist, he helped her hone her writing skills for print journalism. Unfortunately the Daily Post went out of business, as did so many newspapers in the age of the Internet, leaving Clarissa out of work, out of money, and wondering whether she would ever again be able to find a job doing the sort of writing that she loved.

Although Lou at the Unemployment Office sent her out on interviews for positions that he thought her qualified for, none of them resulted in a job. Now she is behind on her rent payments and worried. One enjoyment she still allows herself is visiting the lobby of the old Daily Post building where she can get a cup of what she considers the best coffee in Manhattan from a coffee cart run by CCG, otherwise known to her as Cute Coffee Guy.

As the story begins she makes her way to the coffee cart to cheer herself up after another disappointing job interview. Before she can even take a sip of her coffee, however, she hears her parents calling her name. She has never told them of the demise of the Daily Post and loss of her job because they seem to be having so many problems of their own in their marriage.

She also hasn't told them that she had broken up with the boyfriend they thought she was seeing, and now here they are in the Daily Post building asking to be shown her office and introduced to her boyfriend. Thinking fast, she explains that the office is closed for the day, and then introduces CCG as her boyfriend. Miraculously he goes along with the subterfuge, shaking hands with the parents and introducing himself as Nick. Her parents take them out to lunch and a new chapter occurs in Clarissa's life, full of deceit and disappointment, but somehow working out in the end.

Mitchell Kriegman, the author, was the creator of the television series Clarissa Explains it All, which was Clarissa's story at the age of fourteen. This book continues telling of her life as a young adult in her mid-twenties, still possessing the obsessions and superstitions of her younger years, and still making charts, graphs, and lists to help her make sense of life, although she isn't succeeding nearly as well.

I never watched the TV series, but found this book enjoyable anyway. Clarissa is a delightful, complex character, who tries to keep from hurting anyone and sometimes hurts herself instead. The story is a funny romp through the trials of a young adult who is having trouble finding her way in life, and even through Clarissa despairs, the reader knows that she will come out okay. Reading the book should be even more fun for someone who watched the TV show.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews