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Freaky Green Eyes

Review

Freaky Green Eyes

Fifteen-year-old Franky Pierson knows that her famous sportscaster father has a bad temper. She also knows that her parents do not get along and that sometimes violence erupts. When her mother moves into a cabin she owns and only visits a few days a week, Franky thinks they just need their own space for a little while. But things seem to get worse and her father's behavior becomes more extreme.

Franky's alter ego, Freaky Green Eyes, is a tough personality that saves her from dangerous and scary situations and is now needed more and more often at home. When her mother disappears, Franky does not want to know what happened. But the truth always seems to have a way of getting out.

Fans of Joyce Carol Oates's marvelous BIG MOUTH & UGLY GIRL most likely will be disappointed with this effort. It's fairly obvious early on in the book what's going to happen and who will be to blame for it. While Franky's denial of her terrible home life is realistic, it goes on for far too long for the patience of readers.

I believe the symbolism of the Freaky Green Eyes is too heavy-handed for savvy teen readers. The book starts by explaining the name in a scene that is strongly reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. But the near-rape scene does not quite fit in with the domestic violence in Franky's home, making the nickname somewhat confusing.

Oates has always been a master of voice, and readers will understand Franky even if they are exasperated with her delayed ability to see the signs of what's coming. Her strong characterization is not enough, however, to overcome the stereotyped parents and predictable plot.

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Reviewed by Amy Alessio on October 18, 2011

Freaky Green Eyes
by Joyce Carol Oates

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTempest
  • ISBN-10: 0066237599
  • ISBN-13: 9780066237596