The Smart One by Jennifer Close

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The Smart One by Jennifer Close

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Will and Weezy (Louisa) Coffey have brought up their three grown up children and should now be looking forward to some relaxing days on their own. Unfortunately, all three have problems of their own that bring them back to the family home needing the support of their parents one more time. Even in this modern age, this story demonstrates that there really is no place like home! Book orriginally published as Things We Need.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: June 2014
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099563297

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Claire Coffey used to live in New York with a successful job and a great fiancé; her sister Martha used to be a nurse; and her brother Max should have been looking forward to finishing his final year at college before embarking on an exciting and interesting career. However, things don’t always turn out the way that one expects which is why all three siblings end up back at the family home needing the support of their parents.

Claire has split up with her fiancé and has discovered that trying to live in their apartment on her own is just too expensive. She is running up huge debts month after month and there’s nothing for it but to give everything up and return home until she has sorted out her finances. Martha trained hard to be a nurse but her first job working nights burned her out and made her lose all confidence in her abilities. She also returns home, gives up nursing and ends up working in a clothes store. Max is the baby of the family and still at college. Due to an unexpected turn of events though, he and girlfriend Cleo are going to have to start growing up very quickly and are also very grateful for the haven that is provided by the family home. By taking some time out with their parents, will all three feel that they can get back to facing the challenges of modern life?

This is an enjoyable gentle read that demonstrates the turbulent nature of modern living. All three children find themselves in a mess through the sort of events that occur for many people on a daily basis. I felt that it was a reassuring novel that placed family at the heart of everything and, even though this family struggled to get along on a daily basis, they were always there for each other.

The story is spread over one year and moves along at a slow, gentle pace. It is surprising because so much happens in that year whilst it feels that not a lot happens at all. Overall, it leaves one with a very positive feeling as it is all about the strength of family and it does go to show that when everybody pulls together, problems can get solved. Having said that though, this is not a twee depiction of family life. Weezy often despairs of her children and particularly her husband Will’s apparent lack of interest in them. There are many problems to overcome either separately or together which makes this book an astute depiction of modern family life.

This is an enjoyable book that provides easy reading but in a thought-provoking way.

Why not also take a look at Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Buy The Smart One by Jennifer Close at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smart One by Jennifer Close at

Buy The Smart One by Jennifer Close at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Smart One by Jennifer Close at


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