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Being a combination of conventional diary entries and transcripts of videos shot by the author on the camera she was given for her 13th birthday, and beginning at the end of summer.
Bluebell Gadsby is 13 but that's the least of her problems. Both her parents seem more interested in their careers than the family, leaving Blue and her three siblings as well as 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 real 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. A tender, funny, smart and ultimately heartwarming story.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Thirteen-year-old Bluebell ("Blue") keeps both a video and a written diary of her family life. Her father teaches medieval literature at Warwick University; her mother has a grand and peripatetic job at a cosmetics company. Neither is home much, leaving Bluebell and her siblings - stroppy teenage Flora and primary schoolers Jasmine and "Twig" - in the care of a Bosnian PhD student, Zoran, who struggles to keep control. Rarely spoken of is the death of Blue's twin, Iris, three years earlier, which has left scars on them all. Written with subtlety, wit and insight, this teen diary with depth follows the Gadsbys through difficult times (and Blue's enlightening first crush) towards a feelgood ending. (Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times 2013-06-30)
Bluebell's twin sister Iris died two years ago; her parents, displacing grief in work, abandon Bluebell and her three siblings to the care of a put-upon PhD student called Zoran. It's a fine read - funny and moving - and a classic portrait of a family just damaged enough to be interesting. (Dinah Hall Sunday Telegraph 2013-07-14)
Bluebell herself is wonderful - trying her hardest to keep things going in a somewhat madcap family - and I found Flora, her older sister, and boy next door Joss to be realistic. As for Bosnian au pair Zoran, kind, caring and funny, he steals nearly every scene he's in! Her parents, on the other hand, and former friend Dodi, felt relatively weak. Despite this drawback, Farrant's easy to read writing style - including transcripts of videos Bluebell films, which really add to the story - a good plot, and some hilarious scenes mean that it's well worth checking out. I'll look forward to reading the next in the series!
(Sue Bookbag 2013-07-08)
Recommended to young to mid teens.
Hitting just the right note between funny and sad has always been a testing literary exercise, one which has often separated good writers from those not so good.
Natasha Farrant can count herself amongst the gifted writers who can do it... and with style.
The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby: After Iris, her bittersweet teen novel about a family trying and failing to cope with a terrible tragedy, is so perfectly pitched that you will be laughing behind the hand that only seconds ago wiped away a surreptitious tear.
Farrant's inspired use of an original combination of video transcripts and diary musings captures all the repressed grief and denial of the Gadsby family as they each play out their pain through histrionics, eccentric obsessions and outbursts of pent-up anger.
(Pam Norfolk Lancashire Evening Post 2013-07-08)
High on raw emotion, poignant observation and moments of sheer laugh-out-loud farce, After Iris is the first of what promises to be a brilliant new series about the adventures and misadventures of the luscious and lovable Gadsby family.
After Iris, by Natasha Farrant, is a tender, poignant, funny, and ultimately heartwarming story of family life, growing up and dealing with grief, told through the diaries and camcorder recordings of 13-year-old Bluebell Gadsby.
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