Penelope: Awkward and Weird
By Rebecca Harrington
Vintage Books, $14.95, 274 pages
Opening the pages of Rebecca Harrington’s comedic novel, Penelope, is a bit like climbing the steps to Harvard. Penelope is a new student at the formidable school, and she is immediately forced into figuring out the social structure, identifying cliques and finding her place. Unfortunately, Penelope is a little strange and exudes awkwardness in most situations – and it is from her lack of social skills that the book derives its humor.
The dialogue – the one area where readers might truly have connected with Penelope – is flat and dull, leaving Penelope and the other stereotypes that litter the pages of this book seeming paper thin. The action and drama is also quite dry, with not much forward motion. And while laugh out loud moments do appear, the humor seems repetitive and recycled from first page to last.
Reviewed by Sophie Sestero