Iris Has Free Time — Review

February 17, 2014

I’ve been reading a lot lately because, well, you can only spend so much time looking for library jobs in the Philadelphia area. And it’s cold and snowy and gross outside, so I’ve become an accidental hermit.

There are a bunch of reviews coming up, but this one is long overdue. I was reading Iris Has Free Time back when I was still in the midst of finishing my last semester of grad school/finding an apartment/holiday/moving to a new state insanity. So yeah, I forgot to write the review. And then I neglected to include it in my 2013 wrap-up.

Since this was a BEA book that the folks at Counterpoint actually mailed to me after the fact, I kind of wanted to get this review out, even if it’s woefully late.

And so, here we go: Iris Has Free Time…

I think the best way to describe this book would really be “HBO’s Girls in book form.” That may or may not be a selling point for you, but it is a very clear point of comparison.

Iris is an NYU graduate trying to make it in the city. My biggest pet peeve was that she didn’t seem to be trying all that hard. Iris’s narrator reads a bit like a [for lack of a better term] hipster millenial who complains a lot about her shitty lot in life, yet she refuses to make positive changes or act like a person with even a modicum of self awareness.

Now that I’m writing/reading this it sounds harsh, but that’s honestly how I felt. The characters are by and large vapid and insufferable.

None of this is to say that the book isn’t entertaining. For all her flaws as a character (or human being), Iris’s antics make for some decent reading. There is just a fair bit of prattling on in between.

I think this book is very hit or miss depending on your ability to tolerate this kind of character. For me, there was a lot of excessive eye rolling and it probably took me twice (if not three times) as long to finish as it should have because sometimes I just could not deal with it and needed to read something else.

It’s certainly worth a shot and there are some funny life in New York bits, but other times are shining examples of why people moan about millenials.