Korey's Reviews > Stir-Fry

Stir-Fry by Emma Donoghue
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it was ok

Meh.

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 supposed to. We mainly follow her coming of age through her relationship to her lesbian roommates Ruth and Jael. A lot of the book is composed of conversations between the three of them as they go about their days. Some of these conversations are funny and well written and worth reading. Some of them are real corny.

I wish I had a better handle on Ruth and Jael's relationship. Besides her feminism Ruth was a cipher and I didn't get a good sense of how Ruth and Jael's relationship worked. Neither character felt like a flesh and blood person to me. I didn't find them very interesting or well developed characters as individuals, nor did I find their relationship well written because it was so underdeveloped. Even though this is written in third person, we only see Ruth and Jael through Maria's eyes so we are stuck with her limited vantage point. We eventually and predictably fall into a love triangle plot and that's pretty flat too.

On the whole I was pretty underwhelmed. This is short and a super fast read so it wasn't difficult to get through or anything, but it's just so insubstantial and underwritten I can't recommend it. Donoghue has obviously grown a lot as a writer since her debut. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Slammerkin, The Wonder, Room, and Frog Music by this author. Pick up one of those instead if you want to see how good Donoghue can be.
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Reading Progress

October 31, 2016 – Started Reading
October 31, 2016 – Shelved
November 1, 2016 – Finished Reading

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