Monday, February 6, 2012

review: Irises by Francisco X. Stork

pub date: January 1, 2012 
publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
pages: 288
sources: for review at Kiss the Book
appeals: sister, death, orphans, religion,
content: two swear words, some talk about sex but rather mild comparatively

This is the second book I've read from Francisco X. Stork. My first was The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. I didn't love that book (I gave it three apples), but it was interesting enough that I decided to try another Stork novel. The summary for Irises appealed to me, so I picked it up. I probably didn't need to bother.

What I have decided after reading Death Warriors and Irises is that Stork's style of writing doesn't appeal to me. I find it kind of boring. There's no beauty to his language. It's just...words on a page.

Also, I had a really difficult time keeping Mary and Kate straight. One was brilliant and studied a lot, one painted. That was it. The first thirty pages I was very confused on who was doing what because I couldn't figure out which was which. All the characters seemed very one dimensional. And sometimes behaved in odd Kate's best friend becoming her best enemy in just a day without much provocation. It was weird.

Religion is a large aspect of this novel and ties into the growth of the characters, and I did find that interesting. But...that's about all.

Without beautiful words or strong characters, the plot itself wasn't enough to keep me interested. I did finish it, but near the end I was reading just so that it was finished, not because I cared so much.

Two sisters discover what's truly worth living for in the new novel by the author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.

TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. -- if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.

THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate's boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.

ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it's Mama's life that might divide them for good -- the question of *if* she lives, and what's worth living for.IRISES is Francisco X. Stork's most provocative and courageous novel yet.

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