Michelle's Reviews > Irises

Irises by Francisco X. Stork
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's review
Sep 02, 2012

really liked it

Reading through the reviews here, I'm surprised by how many adults read teen fiction. I'm not sure how many people are teachers, or parents, or librarians. Maybe because the teenage years are so difficult and still so vivid to us adults? But this is a book that I believe will only appeal to quite mature, thoughtful teens - and adults. Stork's storytelling is slow and measured. I like his writing - I like the simplicity of his words, which still manage to get across emotion and to move the plot forward. His characters seem real to me - ultimately good but still flawed, not always making the right decisions, or for the right reasons.

2 sisters, brought up in an old-fashioned way by their father, the minister of a small, fundamentalist church. When he dies, they are left with tattered dreams, financial worries, questions about faith and the ultimate decision - what do they do with their mother? Injured in an accident, she lies at home in a vegetative state, cared for by the family and a nurse. What does the future hold?

Lots of big questions within this story, but the philosophy doesn't detract from the story-telling. That is, there is no moral message whacking you over the head as you read, and the questions are raised organisically, and are completely in context with the girls' lives.

Previous reviews have compared this unfavourable to Marcelo in the Real World, one of Stork's earlier novels. I loved Marcelo, but he wasn't quite real to me, whereas the girls, I feel, are completely real. One little note - on my quest for clean teen novels (not because I think that's something important, simply because as a librarian I get asked for these) - this doesn't fit the bill.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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stephanie can i ask what made it not clean? i like keeping lists as well.

Michelle There's a fairly detailed account of "heavy petting" between the older sister and her boyfriend. It's in context, and describes their relationship and I have no moral objection to it being in the book. It's just I'm often asked in the library I work in for "clean" teen books, and so couldn't add this to my list. I use my Goodreads reviews as a memory aid when customers ask for recommendations.

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