Liralen's Reviews > When Irish Guys Are Smiling

When Irish Guys Are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee
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Oct 26, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: z-2014, fiction, travel, ya, reviewed

Delk is off to Ireland for the semester, and she's glad to be gone -- at home in Tennessee, her stepmother (who is young enough to be Delk's sister, but not old enough to be her mother) is both pregnant and determined to redecorate; it's coming-out season; above all, Delk just misses her mother.

Now...it took me a while to get into this. Delk is as preppy as a preppy girl can be, and her brand-naming gets old fast. She's also convinced that her new friend Iris would be pretty if only she slathered on the make-up. I'm not the right market for books that ask, on the back, whether a boy will be able to solve all the heroine's problems just by being cute. (I exaggerate...slightly.)

But the book manages to make up for a lot of it. Delk is, in her own words, not "the sort of girl who waited around and sacrificed opportunities just because she liked a certain boy" (60). Better yet, she puts her money where her mouth is, she's aware that feminism takes many shapes and forms...and Iris holds her own without the magical powers of make-up. (I would have loved it if Iris had owned her individuality from the get-go -- but at least she figures it out eventually.) Delk is also able, almost from the beginning, to take a nuanced view of her stepmother; she knows that she doesn't have an evil stepmother, but she also knows that that doesn't make everything okay. There were little things that amused me, like how the value of wool has gone down...which is not amusing in and of itself, but I'd just read the exact same thing in Dirty Chick, and I like unexpected book connections.

The one thing that completely puzzles me: why o why are these books so short on non-American students? Delk spends all her time with five other Americans -- not just Americans, but East Coast Americans. Triplets from New Hampshire, a girl from New Jersey, a girl from Maryland. That's it. There are, apparently, twenty-five students in the program, but you wouldn't know it from the descriptions. We hear, briefly and vaguely, of an emo-looking kid and a couple of preps...but they don't really exist, and there's never any indication that anyone other than Americans are there to stay. It just...seems a little odd? Don't get me wrong -- I love that they're staying in a castle. I love that they've been placed somewhere other than Dublin (although, if Westminster Abby is anything to go by, that was largely because Dublin is a relatively low-key city). I just wish -- yet again -- that they hadn't just...packed up a bunch of Americans and shipped the normal drama over to another country.


More general look at the series here.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 26, 2014 – Shelved
October 26, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
October 26, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
October 26, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
October 26, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
October 27, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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