Monday, February 25, 2008

Iris, Messenger

Okay, I just finished this book and I loved it!  Iris, Messenger, by Sarah Deming, tells the story of a middle schooler named Iris Greenwold who lives with her mother in Middleville, Pennsylvania.  Iris, like many other protagonists, hates going to school and really doesn't have any friends but she loves daydreaming and does her best to just get through the day avoiding detentions.  Which she is not very good at.  

Slight Spoiler Alert
Then on her twelfth birthday she receives a copy of Bullfinch's Mythology and is captured by the stories as well as the notes scribbled in the margins.  Of course the notes lead her to the world of gods and goddesses living right in her hometown, carrying on their own lives and trying their hardest to do a job similar to their immortal powers: Aphrodite owns a beauty shop, Hephaestus works as a mechanic, Artemis is a private detective and, my personal favorite, Hades is the principal of Iris's middle school ("Middle school is the closest thing we've found to hell."  How great is that quote!?).  Greek myths are woven throughout the story as the deities help Iris to discover her identity as well as help Iris's mother (a soybeantologist) get her job back.  

The book was a completely exhilarating read.  Iris had a delightful personality and the story was both witty and poignant.   I also love books where the author redeems the characters from another story (The Game by Diana Wynne Jones is another) and Deming kindly saves the poor, dilapidated Greek gods and goddesses from their tragic lives to a happily ever after in a hilarious epilogue (and I would have been very jealous of Iris's happy ending in my middle school years, that's for certain).  I actually learned more about myths from this fun book (and I considered myself an intermediate myth-lover, if not an expert); I can't wait until Ms. Deming comes out with another.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Hi there FourStory - Loved your review of my daughter's book Iris, Messenger. You do have discerning taste as Sarah says. Last week I was remembering Elizabeth Enright who I read as a kid & couldn't find her on the Web. I was 9 when I read everything I could find by her. Another kid's favorite is Roald Dahl who Sarah & I devoured. Keep reading! Keep writing, FourStory, & so shall I. - Ruth Z Deming