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The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose is a brilliantly original and poignant novel for our time
Harriet Rose, like any other teenager, is nave, overconfident and has always felt she has something important to say. However, unlike most of her peers, her hero is Marcus Aurelius, in imitation of whom she has been composing philosophical reflections on life for some time. When Harriet's father dies, the urge to write these meditations is greater than ever.
Then, on her fourteenth birthday, she receives a unique gift. Her doting mother and grandmother have had her by-now-substantial collection of meditations published. Having appointed themselves roles - Mother: publicist; Nana: sales rep; Harriet: esteemed author - they vow to get the book into the hands of a wide readership.
Once this formidable team gets into gear, there's no holding back, and Harriet is hurled into a lifestyle that not even she, in all her infinite wisdom, could have been prepared for. Bookshop orders soon stack up, and Harriet is plunged into a whirlwind of launch parties, newspaper coverage and television appearances. But is all this attention exactly what she thinks? And, more importantly, can her happiness - or her naivete - last?
Diana Janney gained two degrees in philosophy from London University and is a dually qualified barrister and solicitor. She has lived for most of her adult life in London and now writes full-time.
The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose (Headline Review 19.99, pp295) by Diana Janney is a bit different: Harriet, the 14-year-old schoolgirl-philosopher, finds that her mother and gran have published her collection of philosophical meditations and unwittingly suddenly becomes a celebrity of sorts. Harriet is a great character - fantastically clever, arrogant, socially inept and likely to refer to Kant at inopportune moments. There should be lots more books for teenagers with heroines who idolise Marcus Aurelius.
A lovely fantasy on stardom spotted with her philosophy and the sad knocks of life. A good, unusual read'
'The characters in The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose leap from the page into one's imagination. The salt in Olivia's soul seasons the story, and Janney makes me laugh'
'this is the sort of book that keeps a girl's world sane
'Adrian Mole for girls'