Lorelei Connelly is no ordinary eleven-year-old. She's practical and a forward thinker. When her favorite cat, Mud, dies, she starts a journal to him, chronicling her daily life as a sixth grader so that he can continue to follow her rise to fame and fortune as a beloved actress, celebrated chef, and/or bestselling author. She figures it's also a good way to make sure her future biographers don't get anything wrong about her. But when her parents' marriage starts to unravel, Lorelei's lighthearted daily log becomes a poignant and defiantly humorous account of a family in distress as Lorelei grapples with the ground shifting under her feet.
Yeardley Smith engages the reader with wit, candor, and authenticity.
About the Author
Yeardley Smith is a novelist, playwright, and actress who has appeared on Broadway, on television, and in films. She is perhaps best known as the Emmy Award-winning voice of Lisa Simpson on Fox's hit television show The Simpsons. When she isn't working, she's knitting. Yeardley lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.
Read an Excerpt
By Yeardley Smith
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Sunday, October 16th
I've decided to start keeping a diary, so that when I become a famous writer/actress/chef I'll remember everything that happened to me. Plus, when I'm dead, and someone wants to write my biography, they won't have to make stuff up about me.
All right, here goes. My first official entry.
My name is Lorelei, and today I'm 4,126 days old. That's 11¼ years. Also, I'm a Cancer the Crab, if you follow astrology like I do.
I have brown hair, which is mostly straight and down to my shoulders. But I've been putting egg yolks and olive oil on it for the past two weeks to make it grow faster, and I can already tell it's working. My eyes are blue and I had twenty-seven freckles at last count.
My mom's name is Claire. My dad's is Theo. And I have two smelly brothers—one older and one younger. Teddy is fourteen and Ryan is the runt, age four.
My English teacher, Miss Dove, says that a lot of writers picture someone in their mind when they write. She says it makes them feel like they're having a conversation.
Since you and I used to talk all the time, Mud, I've decided to picture you. Cause even though you're a cat and you're dead now, you were an excellent listener when you were alive.
Miss Dove also said writers needtheir own space—that's why I'm writing to you from the attic. I found a nice comfy chair and a little table that doesn't rock too much when I lean on it. I put them by the window so I can look out at the garden and see your grave under the giant maple tree.
I hope you liked the funeral we had for you today. It was hard to know what to say on such short notice. Hey, the vase I left by your grave fell over and the blue carnations are lying in the dirt! Don't worry. I'm going downstairs right now to fix it.
I miss you terribly, Mud. I still remember what you smelled like and I miss that, too.
Monday, October 17th
How does it feel to be dead? Surely by now you've reached Heaven, which means you probably don't feel like a twenty-year-old cat with arthritis and kidney problems anymore. You probably feel great. All thawed out and everything.
About that: I'm sorry Mom put your body in the freezer! She was terribly upset when she found you dead by the hydrangeas. It was late, and she thought we should wait until morning to have your funeral. It was my idea to wrap you in a blanket, at least.
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?
I bet our neighborhood looks friendly from way up there. Like a really cool model town with winding streets and alleys, and tall, slender brick houses pressed together in copycat rows. I've always been glad we live on a corner, cause at least we only have neighbors looking into our backyard from one side.
I bet the giant elm trees look amazing too, all of them bursting with red and yellow leaves. Remember the day you got stuck in the one in our front yard and we had to call the fire department to get you down? You were almost too high for the fireman to reach you!
I hope you're happy in Heaven, Mud. I hope there are sunny walkways for you to lie on like there were down here. I always knew where to find you when the weather was good. In the mornings you'd trot across the street and stretch out on the Lotts' brick wall to soak up the sun. And in the late afternoon you'd be curled up under the maple in our backyard. That's why I thought it'd be the perfect place to bury you.
Hey, who's going to walk me to and from the store from now on, when Mom sends me for milk? She could never believe how you'd just stop and wait for me at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue until I got back.
"How does he know you'll only be gone a few minutes?" she'd say, shaking her head in disbelief.
"He's a cat. He knows everything," I'd tell her.
Green Bean (our other cat—for you biographers) keeps looking under the living room curtains and in the linen closet for you. She's also been sniffing the blanket you used to share with her at the bottom of my bookcase and howling. I tried to explain to her you're not coming back, but she doesn't want to hear it. She just stares at the bookcase and howls.
Earlier this afternoon, I picked her up, got into bed, and pulled the covers over us, to see if that would make her feel better. Didn't.
Since I'm documenting my life, I'm going to paste what I wrote for your funeral below, so you'll never forget how much I love you and wish you were still here.
Ode to Mud
By Lorelei Lee Connelly
Even though most people in the world didn't meet you, I bet they wish they had, cause you were the best cat ever. I can't believe you're gone. Today when I went to feed Green Bean, I got a bowl out for you, too, and then I remembered.
Mom likes to remind me that my first word as a baby was "Mud." She says she'll never forget the day she found you. Someone had put you in a mailbox outside her college dorm. You were so dirty, she named you Mud.
We're all going to miss seeing you sleeping under the Christmas tree this year. And we're going to miss watching cartoons with you on Saturday mornings too. We'll even miss the dead birds you used to leave for us on the doorstep. We know you meant them as presents.
Did you know you were nine years old when I was born? That means I've known you all my life.
Oh, Mud, there's so much I want to say. I thought yesterday, the day you died, was the saddest day of my life. But today is no better. I think a piece of me will be sad forever.
I would give anything if you could come back for just one more visit, Mud. Anything. I will never forget you.
Love always and forever,
I can't believe it—the wind knocked your vase over again!
Excerpted from I, Lorelei by Yeardley Smith Copyright © 2009 by Yeardley Smith. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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, dealing with a bully, dealing with the school ¿reject,¿ dealing with ¿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.
Yeardley Smith is perhaps best known for her work on television's The Simpsons, providing the voice of young Lisa Simpson. But now Yeardley can add something new to her resume: completely awesome author of a young adult novel called I, Lorelei.A Quick Synopsis:Lorelei Lee Connelly is 11 and 1/4 years old and has decided to keep a diary so that when she becomes a famous writer/actress/chef someday, she'll remember the important things that happened to her when she was eleven. She's addressing this diary to her best friend who's now in heaven: Mud, the family cat and best listener around. Irritating brothers, a school yard bully, parents who can't get along and a middle school production of Peter Pan provide ample fodder for Lorelei and her strong moral compass provides creative solutions to her pre-teen problems are heartfelt and gratifying.The Literary Criticism:I honestly cannot think of one single thing that I'd improve with this book. Lorelei is precocious, intelligent, insecure, and vulnerable. In short, everything a normal eleven year old should be. Ms. Smith has almost alarming insight into the mind of pre-teen girls because at no point does she belittle or negate the importance of Lorelei's problems, yet she does so without melodrama. It's perfect. The story doesn't have a fairy-tale ending and thank goodness because that might have ruined it. Instead, the satisfying conclusion involves Lorelei's realization that we cannot control the world around us and it is up to each of us to make our own happiness. (Okay, so she doesn't make it sound as preachy as I just did, but that's why she's the author and makes the big bucks while I just write reviews.)Recommendation:It's a simple one this time, folks.....buy this book. Buy a copy for every 9-12 year old girl you know and snag a copy for yourself. It's a wonderful story and I hope Ms. Smith continues to write. She is a true talent!
When eleven-year-old Lorelei Connelly¿s cat named Mud dies she begins a diary to him. In it she chronicles her daily life with her family and her adventures in the sixth grade. She¿s also writing the diary to ensure that when she¿s a famous actress, chef and/or bestselling author her biographers can accurately report her life. The diary begins with Lorelei trying out for the middle school Peter Pan production. Lorelei wants to try out for Tinkerbelle but her mom, who played Wendy in college, is dead set on her trying out for Wendy in this play. Lorelei wonders how to break the news to her mom when her mom goes so far as to dig out her old Wendy costume.In the midst of Lorelei¿s normal tween drama which includes being replaced as Jenny¿s best friend by the much hated Veronica and being terrified by the school bully Matt Newsome, her parents¿ marriage begins to fall apart. We follow along in her journey as she shares it all with the much loved and missed Mud.It¿s hard to believe that this is Smith¿s first book. The writing is excellent and she captured the eleven year old voice so perfectly that I truly felt that this book was written by a young girl. Lorelei¿s diary entries are funny and you can¿t help but root for her when things start to go wrong. I fell right into the story and the characters became loved. You know a book is great when you find yourself thinking about the characters long after you¿ve finished reading. This book is perfect reading for the tween crowd, ages 8-12 but I also recommend this book for any adult who loves reading young adult books also. I hope Smith continues writing books and that she ventures into adult books soon.
A book about a girl that has to deal with the death of her cat, family problems,dad trying to make his own beer company,crushing,fights, and alot of everyday stuff overall this is probley one of my favorite books because it is a nice story about things that do happen in real life and perpars me for the future it is kinda sad though. I would rekamend this book for people
PLOT SUMMARY: Lorelei Connelly is 11 years old and in 6th grade. She lives in Washington, DC with her parents and two brothers. This is the story of what happens to her over the course of just 3 months, following the death of her beloved cat, Mud. In almost daily letters to Mud, Lorelei reveals her struggles and triumphs with friendship, siblings, trying out for a school play, and her secret crush. At the very heart of the story, however, is her parents' rather messy divorce.MY TAKE: I liked this book quite a bit. The letter format allows for an informal and intimate look at Lorelei's life. Yes, the parents have major issues. Yes, there is dysfunction. Lorelei is very strong and lovable character, though. Seen through her eyes, the situation is sometimes sad, often funny, but never hopeless. She's also a super real and super nice kid, and you can't help but root for her. WHO WOULD LIKE THIS BOOK: Girls ages 9 and up who like reading realistic fiction. This is a great book for girls who want to read about an older character with personal issues but aren't yet ready for the more gritty YA novels. It's very PG.INTERESTING FACT: Yeardly Smith, the author (first-time author), of this book was the Emmy Award winning voice of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons!FAVORITE QUOTE:Lorelei's Mom on p.39, "Lorelei, the secret of a satisfied life is making the most of every opportunity that comes your way. The outcome isn't nearly as important as knowing that you gave it your all."
This was a fun book for a 10-13 year old girl and especially helpful if that girl has ever had to deal with death, divorce, parents,pets, frenemies or brothers. It's told in diary form/letters to her dead cat which sounds wierd but really works. I look forward to more stories by this author. Highly recommended!
I love this book and I recomend this book to anyone with a hard life!
When eleven-year-old Lorelei Connelly's cat named Mud dies, she begins a diary to him. In it she chronicles her daily life with her family and her adventures in the sixth grade. She's also writing the diary to ensure that when she's a famous actress, chef and/or bestselling author her biographers can accurately report her life.
The diary begins with Lorelei trying out for the middle school Peter Pan production. Lorelei wants to try out for Tinkerbelle but her mom, who played Wendy in college, is dead set on her trying out for Wendy in this play. Lorelei wonders how to break the news to her mom when her mom goes so far as to dig out her old Wendy costume.
In the midst of Lorelei's normal tween drama which includes being replaced as Jenny's best friend by the much hated Veronica and being terrified by the school bully Matt Newsome, her parents' marriage begins to fall apart. We follow along in her journey as she shares it all with the much loved and missed Mud.
It's hard to believe that this is Smith's first book. The writing is excellent and she captured the eleven year old voice so perfectly that I truly felt that this book was written by a young girl. Lorelei's diary entries are funny and you can't help but root for her when things start to go wrong. I fell right into the story and the characters became loved. You know a book is great when you find yourself thinking about the characters long after you've finished reading.
This book is perfect reading for the tween crowd, ages 8-12 but I also recommend this book for any adult who loves reading young adult books also. I hope Smith continues writing books and that she ventures into adult books soon.
Lorelei Connelly has decided she will start journaling about her life to her cat Mud, who recently died. She wants to be able to tell Mud what he's missing and also give her future biographers something to write about when she is famous. Her journal to Mud starts out with her everyday activities and Lorelei's foray into theater with her middle school production of Peter Pan.
When Lorelei's parent's marriage starts to fall apart, her journal to Mud becomes a place for Lorelei to share her feelings and try to understand what is happening to her family. Lorelei's dad starts to take all the furniture, her mom goes on a nanny hiring streak, and poor Lorelei is stuck in the middle.
Yeardley Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons, so I'm not surprised to see a smart girl as the lead of I, LORELEI. At times I even felt there was a little bit of Lisa in Lorelei.
Lorelei is a strong character and a great role model. She stands up to the mean popular girl and the school bully and doesn't let them bother her. She goes against the grain and befriends the unpopular girl at school. Lorelei's journal is full of laughs as well as her heartbreak over her parents. Not only is Lorelei dealing with things at home, but she's also coming into her own and trying to figure life out at school, boys, and friends.
This is a humorous, touching read that I'm sure will resonate with tween readers.