Monday 15 July 2013

After Iris: The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby - Natasha Farrant

Pages: 282
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Release Date: 4th July 2013
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Things We Did for Love

Bluebell Gadsby is 13 but that’s the least of her problems. Both her parents see more interested in their careers than the family, leaving Blue, her three siblings and their three pet rats (who may or may not be pregnant) in the care of Zoran the au pair. The enigmatic Joss moves in next door and Blue thinks she might be falling in love, until he takes out her older sister Flora instead (who, incidentally, is trying to make a statement by dying her hair bright pink but no one takes the blindest bit of notice). Blue thinks and feels very deeply about life but can’t really talk to anyone about it, because no one in the Gadsby family wants to address the problem – that Blue’s twin sister, Iris, died a year ago, and they are all just trying to hide their grief in busyness...

So Blue turns to her diary and her unique way of seeing the world through her camcorder to express herself. The first in a brand new series from Carnegie and Branford Boase shortlisted author Natasha Farrant.

After Iris took me by surprise. The Gadsby’s suckered me in and made me fall in love with them without me even noticing.

Through the diary entries of Blue, the second oldest of four children, and transcripts of the moments she captures in her family, at school and whenever the fancy strikes her. I loved the direct line into Blue’s unique view of the world and being so close to her throughout the novel, my heart broke for her on more than one occasion. The all-consuming crush of a thirteen year old is a difficult cross to bear and I felt every blush, stumble, heartbreak and betrayal.

There’s a stifling sense of melancholy surrounding Blue that separates her from her siblings who seem full of life and energy, even moody and irritating Flora. They feel so strongly and tend to act on those feelings but Blue’s more reserved and thoughtful nature set her apart from her family. I particularly felt her strength of feeling when the death of her twin sister, Iris came up. The moments where she shared her grief and thoughts about her lost sister choked me up and I was in tears by the end, though I didn’t cry nearly as much as I had expected to.

After Iris is gorgeously written, heart-warming and life-affirming. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and hunt down Natasha Farrant’s first book, The Things We Did for Love.

Thanks to Faber for sending me a copy to review.


1 comment:

  1. Lovely when a novel makes you want to go and find other work by that same author, isn't it? I haven't read any of Farrant's novels but have only heard very good things about them, especially The Things We Did For Love.


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