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3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,520 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews

Exhilerating...irreverent, and extremely funny,"- Ms.

Seventeen and sure of nothing, Maria has left her parents' small-town grocery for university life in Dublin. An ad in the Student Union-"2 [FEMALE SYMBOL] seek flatmate. No bigots."-leads Maria to a home with warm Ruth and wickedly funny Jael, students who are older and more fascinating than she'd expected. A poignant,

Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 28th 1995 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1994)
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Nov 10, 2007 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: susan
Shelves: top-shelf, lez
i am such a sucker for a good lesbian story, and i think this is one of the best. i remember finishing it over some depressing stint at home and walking around for the rest of the day with a doofy grin on my face. it did however, make me really nervous 3/4ths of the way through because i realized that the way she had set things up, the ending was going to be really important to the story. it wasn't just going to end the story, it was going to completely make or break the story. and fortunately, ...more
Chez Hilroy
Two stars might be a little harsh; maybe three would be more fair. But the fact is, I didn't like reading Stir-fry. It's not for the characters or the plot or the theme, which I'll get into in a moment, but just the writing style. Stir-fry exists in the same world as beginner's fanfic where the characters sullenly fling peas across the table, dodge kicks between dialogue, and sail into anime pratfalls in response to every lame verbal "barb".

In short, the style blows. And more than anything, that
Jan 23, 2014 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this coming to yourself story. I wish I had found Emma Donoghue's books when I was struggling with the same things back at college in Dublin. But over 10 years later I enjoyed being transported back to the that time through the character of this book.

While this isn't the best book you'll read by the author, it is her first and you can catch glimpses of the better writer she has become in some of the pages here.

It's a simple story of youth finding itself and a quick and enjoyable read.

Rachael Eyre
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2012 Yvensong rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yvensong by: BookCrosser
Shelves: bookcrossing
Donoghue's first novel is a sensitive coming-of-age story of a young girl who has moved to the big city to start college.

The characters are believable, even when they are not particularly likable. Maria, the MC, is attempting to learn who she really is, and how she fits into college life and the world, after having spent her entire life in a small village. She explores the confusing world of relationships through her new flatmates and new college friends, including a couple of young men that sh
Apr 22, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stir-Fry was a delightful romp, and I believe my first foray into queer chick lit (except for maybe Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, which is significantly less fluffy).

Though I greatly enjoyed my reading experience, I wasn't left feeling fulfilled. The whole thing felt very much like a first novel: the characters and conversations were fun, if not super memorable or interesting, scene changes were semi-awkwardly managed, the plot was rather predictable, and there was some stereotyping of the que
May 04, 2016 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2007 Karen rated it it was amazing
I love this one!! Someone once called it a "comfort book", which I thought was a good description. Real, likeable characters. I sympathize with Maria's awkwardness but am impressed by how self-assured she is. The ending is a nice surprise, but feels right. Sometimes I re-read just the last two pages 'cuz they make me smile :)
Dec 13, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I normally avoid anything that could be described as a 'coming of age' story, but this was charming, if not always comfortable to read. The main characters were not always likeable, but were interesting and flawed. I loved the focus on female friendships, relationships, and sexuality.
Apr 11, 2009 Alsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-reread
It's that time of year for a reread while tucked into the couch with a pot of tea. Bliss.


Such a perfect book to read on a cosy autumn day! Love this book to bits, going on literally.
When I was a baby lesbian, I really really wanted to make a movie of this book.
Marthese Formosa
“In what day in what month of this queue of years would she find that she had become a rootless stranger, a speck in the urban sprawl?”

– Stir-fry page 13

If there was one book that I read and I thought ‘this book is me’, this book is it. It is a book that stayed with me and even if I someday forget what the story was about, I will never forget how much I enjoyed reading it and relating to the story.

Stir-fry was Donoghue’s debut novel and is set in Dublin, Ireland. It is about Maria, a universit
Jun 15, 2014 Nisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Though this book isn't written for young adults, I think they are the perfect target for this story of a small-town somewhat naive 17-year-old girl who goes off to college in big-city Dublin. She rents a room in a flat shared by two women who turn out to be lovers, which initially shocks her, but doesn't suddenly "turn" her or anything, as she fumbles her way through making friends at school and having an awkward crush on an intellectual guy in one of her classes. I liked that the whole book too ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Bandit rated it liked it
Good not great, this is a debut novel from Emma Donoghue, the author who has gotten much better with time as judging by the more recent excellent Room. Stir Fry takes place in Dublin in mid 90s and is mostly interesting from the anthropological perspective and views on homosexuality at that time and place. This doesn't mean the book isn't well is, and the three female leads are quite complex and authentic, but the story just didn't capture my attention as much as I would have liked.
Sep 22, 2010 Cara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just read this book over the last few days and I need to read it again I think. I am not sure how I feel about all three characters. I did not have an affinity for any of them. I liked the style, the rhythm of the writing. I just felt the characters were stereotypes I did not truly form an attachment for. I may have also spent too much time thinking about where this story was heading and hoping it wouldn't be cliche. I wanted to love it as it was sent to me from someone I care about, so for th ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Kali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like this book, which is said to be a classic in lesbian literature. If I'd read it as a teenager, I probably would have. Young adults are probably the niche market for this book. I found myself skimming large sections just to get through it quickly. I'm going to try some of Donoghue's later works.
3.5 stars. This was a perfectly pleasant and well-written book, and would deserve more stars if it weren't for the fact that it didn't really move me. It was a good story but I felt somewhat indifferent to the outcome. Also it ended rather too abruptly for my taste. But it was an enjoyable read nonetheless
Jun 13, 2016 Pixie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqiap
i liked the writing, but didn't like how for a long while it sounds like the pov person is a straight gawping at her lesbian flatmates. it's not that in the end, but it still got on my nerves a bit. also would have given a higher rating if it wasn't for some biphobia and "asexual, like a plant" (an actual quote).
Jul 15, 2015 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, lgbt
taking into account that this was written is the early nineties in ireland, and it is a debut novel, it is an impressive book with a (at the time) controversial matter: a lesbian coming of age story. but i read it today, and the world, including myself, have evolved.
Feb 02, 2014 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't make it halfway through this book. The writing was all over the place. The transitions to another "scene" were unexpected and often confusing...I would have to reread to figure out what happened. I just couldn't push through as the parts that did make sense were boring.
Eh. I probably would have liked this book more if I'd read it as a teenager. I liked the characters mostly, the story was fine, I liked the writing style, but it just fell flat for me for some reason.
May 26, 2012 Katie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Room and Slammerkin so I gave another of Donoghue's novels a try. The characters in Stir-Fry were boring and the plot was slow so I abandoned it about halfway through. It simply did not hold my attention!
Nov 09, 2013 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read Room, this one is quite disappointing
Aug 10, 2014 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could not get into reading this book at all, it was a chore to finish it!
This is mostly good and fun, but has some rough biphobia issues.
Jul 14, 2011 Jan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
She's come a long way.
Jul 11, 2011 Donna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing after reading her new novel, THE ROOM. This one was her first novel.
Apr 24, 2017 Leen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, bib, read-in-2017
Maria gaat als zeventienjarige studente 'op kot' in Dublin bij twee vrouwen die een relatie blijken te hebben. Als lezer volg je haar in haar ontwikkeling, eenzaamheid en bezigheden, waarin ze haar best doet volwassen te worden. Een heel mooi boek op zich, maar het einde deed dat alles teniet: dat was niet overtuigend en zelfs redelijk onduidelijk.

Geen boek dat gaat blijven hangen, vrees ik.
Nov 01, 2016 Korey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

There isn't a lot of there there to this story. There's little plot which isn't a big problem in and of itself because not all books need to be plot driven but the characters are also two dimensional at best. So this is a book without a plot and without complex characters. Donoghue doesn't do a good job dramatizing Maria's changes as she goes from sheltered Irish country girl to urban college student. As a reader I didn't feel that sense of growth and discovery and evolution that I was supp
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Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of ...more
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