Funny, honest and at times emotionally searing, Flannery is an exploration of love and relationships told from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old Flannery, who is in love with her childhood best friend, Tyrone O’Rourke. When she makes a love potion for her Entrepreneurship class, she learns a valuable lesson about the risks of love.
Intertextuality & Romance
Flannery isn’t just a story about a crush. A heroine on the cover of a romance novel changes from an innocent maiden to a buxom vixen with claws and fangs; another one swoons and can’t decide if she wants sexual advances or not. Flannery’s mother Miranda even writes a blog which is inserted into the novel at times, giving the reader yet another critical lens to view the unfolding relationships in Flannery’s world.
An Original Narrative
Part of the charm of Flannery is the way that the chapters alternate between flashbacks of Flannery’s life and the present. Because of this structure, we get a real sense of Flannery’s relationship with Tyrone and her mother and it gives us a sense of how she evolves as she understands more about love. On top of the unique structure, Flannery’s sometimes stream of conscious, always hilarious voice adds some great levity to a story that might otherwise be quite dark.
Here is one of my favourite quotes:
Magic vs. Realism
I have always admired Lisa Moore’s realistic, yet engrossing dialogue. There’s something about leaving out the quotation marks that gives her writing a feeling of directness. In Flannery, the simple dialogue keeps the story rooted in reality despite the fact that Flannery is trying to sell a love potion.
In this sweet moment, Moore captures the strange, loving relationship that Miranda and Flannery have so perfectly:
I have to admit, I thought that there would be more magical realism, but it turns out that the real magic in this story is Moore’s heartfelt and often visceral take on what it means to be in love.
Final Grade: A+