Stir Fry
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Stir Fry

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  999 ratings  ·  65 reviews
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 women 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, funny, and sharply insightful coming-of-age story, Stir-fry...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1994)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,676)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mar 04, 2009 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
This little novel is a quick read. It is honest and I am so proud and thankful for the author really representing people in the main character who weren't necessarily "born this way" or really even all that into/knowledgable about lesbian life/culture/desire, to come to finding love nevertheless, and maybe even her identity through relationship, friendship. Sure, she is only 17, but still. It was a really sweet novel, but it seemed kind of unfinished. I mean, it would make a really good movie be...more
I drew up a list culled from a Metafilter posting on happy books to read and this was one of them... This was a charming coming-of-age story set in mid 80s Dublin. Maria is a clueless college freshman from the sticks who movies in with two women who end up being a big part of forming her views on life and relationships. Nothing earth-shattering, just sweet and comfortable (as advertised)
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 :)
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.
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.

Dec 03, 2012 Yvensong rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
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
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...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Short novel. Because this is Donoghue's first novel, I make it a point to read it, as I truly like her writing.

I don't quite understand the relation of this title with this storyline, however I like the pacing and witty bits of the dialogues. Retrospectively, this being her first book, the content was really irish, some local slangs which I don't have a clue what's funny. It got me really confused at many points in the book. When I finished the book, I still have no idea what actually happened....more
Priya Bhakta
I decided to pick up Stir Fry after reading Hood. I'm a fan of Emma Donoghue for her characters who, whilst not always likeable, are very real and very flawed. I think Stir Fry lacked the intensity of Hood and I didn't care as much about the characters or their relationships. We see the story through the eyes of Maria who moves in with Gael and Ruth - and it is about her learning about herself through them.

I feel like I would have been drawn more in if we knew more about Gael and Ruth's relation...more
Cheryl in CC NV
The writing style is lovely, especially at the beginning, when I could hear in my head the lilting cadence of the Irish speakers, despite no diacritical cues. Lots of slang and other interesting indications of ubiety - in fact, too many, because this is not universal and is already dated. Meaning, that it doesn't feel relevant and therefore interesting, any longer, to me.

The portrayal of the young student was implausible in that she was ever so naive, and ever so disturbed to discover that her...more
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.
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.
Because I was so captivated by the originality of Donoghue's Room, I have checked out a few of her other books. Slammerkin was also quite good. This one, from much earlier in her career (1994 I believe) is nothing to speak of. It's a dialogue-driven account of a young woman who decides to room with a lesbian couple. In the end, she discovers something about her own sexuality. That's it. That's all that happens. Now if the characters had been rich or the dialogue especially well-crafted, this cou...more
A good read but felt very dated - her most recent books are very much more developed I thought. I enjoyed that one of the main characters was one I had got to know in a much older incarnation in Landing.
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
Sarah Swedberg
I loved this book. I seem to go hot and cold on her writing. I had just read _The Sealed Letter_ which I (very decidedly) did not love. I had read _The Sealed Letter_ because I was taken with _Room_.

This one is different from both of these, and it spoke to me. It's written for young adults as a coming-of-age story. Maria's experience was not my experience (different country, different setting), but it was an experience that was lot like pieces of my experiences. This book captures something rea...more
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....more
Stir Fry is a novel about a first-year college student in Dublin who is the unknowing third side to a lesbian love triangle. This is Donaghue's first novel, and so the writing is a bit off and sometimes I felt like she was writing the story as though she were transcribing a movie; however, I give it four stars because it does an excellent job of portraying the real struggles and thoughts that go through a person's mind when they begin to realize maybe they like girls and not boys. A quick read.
Oct 20, 2007 Brook added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young folks feeling their way through the world
Turns out I read this five years ago and didn't realize it until I started reading again. I don't know what this says about the book itsself, but after reading Landing and remembering what a wonderful tales Emma Donoghue spins (and it takes a lot to get me through to the end of a romance book), I decided to pick it up. I'm glad I did, because I realized the author had included some references to Stir-Fry in Landing that I would have never recalled had I not revisited it.
Nancy Dardarian
Didn''t much care about any of the characters, trying way too hard. Quit it half way through.
Molly Magnolia
Slow-moving coming of age, but realistic portrayal of college life in Dublin.
Kimberly McKee
Finally! A well written, interesting story about characters who are lesbian! And it isn't soft-core porn.
The ending was very rushed, and (to me) a bit nonsensical. (I had to get my wife to explain it to me, but then again maybe I'm dense.) But I'm definitely willing to over-look that for a well-written and interesting story that has lesbian main characters! Why are these so hard to find?
I drew up a list culled from a Metafilter posting on happy books to read and this was one of them... This was a charming coming-of-age story set in mid 80s Dublin. Maria is a clueless college freshman from the sticks who movies in with two women who end up being a big part of forming her views on life and relationships. Nothing earth-shattering, just sweet and comfortable (as advertised)
A change form my usual serios novels, guess i would classify this as a chick-lit with a difference. It brought back memories of students days; flat-sharing, union pubs, library marathon sessions and time for contemplation.....but with a distinctly irish flavour. it was nice that the ending was delibarately ambiguous
This has just arrived as a bookcrossing book-ring. It will go to Germany when I'm done with it.

Quick and enjoyable read about a coming of age, if not precisely a coming out. I'm glad to have discovered this author who was new for me. I'll look out for others by her, as I appreciated her style.
Not bad, sort of cute, but there really wasn't much of a point. I thought that feminism was going to be more of a theme in the book but it really wasn't. Plus the whole "coming of age" and "sexual realization" wasn't entirely convincing, perhaps just more convenient.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 89 90 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Girls, Visions and Everything: A Novel
  • S/He
  • Patience & Sarah
  • Good Moon Rising
  • Close to Spider Man
  • Cool for You
  • The Blue Place (Aud Torvingen, # 1)
  • Boys Like Her: Transfictions
  • The World Unseen
  • Gravel Queen
  • Desert of the Heart
  • Girl Walking Backwards
  • The Necessary Hunger
  • The House You Pass on the Way
  • Pages for You
  • Gravity
  • And Playing the Role of Herself
  • The Creamsickle
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
More about Emma Donoghue...
Room Slammerkin Frog Music Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins Astray

Share This Book

“Who knows what we all are before anything happens?” 3 likes
More quotes…