Excerpt from Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Feeling Sorry For Celia

by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry For Celia
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2001, 272 pages
    Jan 2002, 288 pages

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Thanks for writing back to me. I'm glad you got my letter and not that guy who told the teacher to shove it up his ass.

Long-distance running is like cross-country or marathon running, and long distances are different lengths - like the City to Surf is 14k, and a marathon is around 42.2k, and an ultramarathon is to the North Pole and back. People always tell me I shouldn't run so far because I'm too young and my bones will fall to pieces. But I do it anyway - mainly because I love the bit when you finish and get to stop running. For example: The next race I'm going in is the Belongil Trail Run, which is 15k. Imagine stopping after 15k. It'll be fantastic.

A VERY IMPORTANT THING for you to know is that I'm NOT a nice private school girl. And I know I'm not, cause most of the other girls here are like that. They take clarinet lessons and go to pony club. And they do this thing whenever I'm talking to them where they blink their mascara'd lashes very quickly as if they need to take lots of little breaks from looking at me.

I'm writing this in science and Mr. Hoogenboom is going blah blah blah about the human skeleton. At the start of the lesson, before Mr. Hoogenboom came in, this guy Martin Wilson turned around from the bench in front of mine and said, "Elizabeth! You look radiant!"

So at first I think, "Oh fantastic, Martin Wilson's got a crush on me - now what?" (Martin Wilson's got orange hair which is crinkley like potato chips, and a chin like a cauliflower.)

But then David Corruthers looks around too and says, "Man, is that red or what?"

So then I remember that my face is so red that my own dog doesn't recognize me anymore. It's because I went skiing with my dad on the holidays and got sunburnt.

I can tell you right now that if I was a nice private school girl, I wouldn't've got a bright red face from going skiing. I'd've got a perfect golden tan like I'd dipped my head in ajar of honey.

Anyway, so Martin and David are staring at me like Mulder And Scully staring at the family of aliens they just discovered in the kitchen sink, when Mr. Hoogenboom walks in.

And Martin calls out, "Sir, look at Elizabeth's face! She's gonna get skin cancer, right? Maybe we should do a topic on diseases and use Elizabeth as our experiment?"

Mr. Hoogenboom looks straight at my face. So does the entire class. Then everyone's calling out stuff like:

"How can you get sunburnt like that and still be alive?"

"Is she clinically dead, sir?"

Then Mr. Hoogenboom clears his throat and Martin Wilson says, "Do you have throat cancer, sir? Would you like to be one of the experiments too?"

The guys here are almost as bad as the girls, except stupider.

So anyway I really only have one friend here, that's Celia, and I promise you she is most DEFINITELY not a nice private school girl. She's kind of weird actually. She's always getting into trouble because she gets bored really really easily. So she always wants to try something new, like shaving her head or chopping down a tree or taking apart the kitchen so she can put it back together (she did that to my kitchen actually, and it took us six months to reconnect the dishwasher).

My mum says it's because Celia has an attention span the size of a sesame seed.

Celia's mum says it's because Celia's identity is unfurling itself slowly, like a tulip bud, and it's a breathtakingly beautiful thing to see.

Anyway I'm kind of depressed today because Celia's run away again. She does that a lot but she usually at least calls me to say where she is. And she hasn't called yet. I'm scared that something bad will happen to her. My mum called Celia's mum and said, "Why don't you tell the police?" but Celia's mum just said, "Remember the tulip bud?" and told my mum to breathe in and out.

Copyright (c) 2000 Jaclyn Moriarty. All rights reserved. Reproduced by the permission of the publisher, St Martin's Press. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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