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Green Eyes

Andrew O'Hare

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (3 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Millivres-Prowler Group Ltd

Published : 2002

Copyright : Andrew O'Hare 2002

ISBN-10 : PB 1-902852-24-9
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-902852-24-9

Publisher's Write-Up

Shaun McKenna and Harry Hannah are teenage boys in Northern Ireland who find themselves passionately in love after their paths cross unexpectedly. But Shaun, the narrator of their story, is Catholic, while his beloved Harry, whom he nicknames 'Greeneyes', is Protestant.

This novel splendidly captures the sexual and emotional nuances of young love as well as the horrors of sectarian violence.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Deighton (310809) Rating (9/10)
Review by Alex(2) (161207) Rating (9/10)
Review by Nadine (060704) Rating (7/10)

WARNING - Sexually Explicit (the novel, not the reviews:)

Review by Deighton
Rating 9/10
I also found my Green Eyes by accident. In some ways part of the story could have been mine. But what a story this is. It is a book of two halves. If you like a good romantic love story with quite racy no holds barred sex scenes then you'll love Shaun's narration of falling Harry and falling in love. The writing is so good that you can imagine every jumping heartbeat, every uncertainty, every taken risk, every touch and excitement of finding and falling in love for the first time. But the second half... well that is something else. There are parts I have ever only been able to read once, and when I did I found myself throwing the book down and shouting out in raw emotion and anger. No book has ever done that to me before. Be prepared to be shocked and then emptied of every single possible emotion. Have a strong drink and a box of tissues on hand.

Since finding the book by accident a couple of years ago I have returned to it time and time again but never quite found the courage to return to Harry's final scene, it is just too painful, too graphic, too heartbreakingly sad. It is a loss so sudden and unnecessary right at the moment when love has triumphed that it is too horrendous for words.... but what follows, the description of Shaun's loss, is done so well that it fits together like a complete jigsaw. It just reminds me of my first love which also ended tragically and every day I miss him more and more, however the book helps. I'm glad for Shaun that in the end he found love, and was able to conclude that journey of self-destruction that the pain of love begins in each of us as we let go of ourselves and open our hearts to someone else only to find our hearts crushed and broken. At the moment I suppose I'm in the middle of that journey but what this book gives me is hope! It’s the thread that runs throughout the whole of Green Eyes. Even in the tragedy that befalls Shaun and as he struggles with the demons that this brings him (anger, regret, hate, utter despair, compassion, revenge, forgiveness, loneliness) you can't help feeling that his love for Harry and Harry's love for him is such that they pale into insignificance besides it. I never want to loose my own Harry again, but there are many that I'll let go because they are not half as worthy as Shaun or Harry ever was.

Whilst this is a book about teenage gay love, it could be a book about any first love, teenage or older. Where it stands out is the environment in which it is set - Northern Ireland - with all its raw sectarian and religious bigotry. Behind the tragedy you get a glimpse, albeit it brief, that perhaps away from the glare of the media, the peace process and the public statements of unity, some parts of the community have a long way to go - whilst others have just quietly been getting on with it love for love, male for female, boy for boy, the green for the blue, the left for the right. If you don't do anything else before you die, read this book, you'll never be the same again.
Deighton (31st August 2009)

Review by Alex(2)
Rating 9/10
I've just finished reading this book, given to me by my Mum who loved it. I'm a 21 year old gay male living in Northern Ireland myself; when I came out to my parents Mum went out and bought this book secretly and only recently gave it to me which I thought rather funny. So I decided to give it a go... once opened I couldn't put it down. Yes some of the sex scenes are a bit racy, but what kept me in engrossed was the love the two boys had for one another.

I've been with my partner now since I came out to my parents at 16 and I couldn't bear to live without him. When I got to the second half of the book, when tragedy strikes I was devastated, it really hit close to home, being from Northern Ireland myself and made me glad that I am growing up in a totally different age to that... thankfully.

The author brought a lot of home truths out in the book which was brilliant to read and did not bias towards any side of religion. An Amazing book, still have a funny feeling in my stomach, as if the characters were real, I feel almost connected to them in a way, every few minutes I just think what if I had been growing up in those times and lost Jackson... not worth thinking about.

I've recommended this book to ALL my friends... brilliant!
Alex(2) (16th December 2007)

Review by Nadine
Rating 7/10
I actually read this book by accident. When I found it, I thought it was a book that had been recommended to me on a message-board. It turned out it wasn't, but not being one to let a book go to waste, I read it anyway.

It's the story of Shaun and Harry - two gay teenagers living amidst the violence and unrest of Northern Ireland in the 1980's. One is Catholic, the other Protestant. Both have black sheep in their families who violently oppose their having anything to do with each other. As they struggle with growing up "different" in an unforgiving culture, the tension mounts – and tragedy ensues.

For most of the first half I was unimpressed. Shaun and Harry are likeable enough, but I wasn't sure I liked the author's style. Dialogue consisted largely of meaningless banter, which did nothing to advance the story, and it wasn't always clear just who was speaking. I also wanted to administer a swift slap to the editors. To them, it seems, punctuation is just something that happens to other people.

Now, I like a good romance as much as the next girl, but even I found this one tooth-rottingly sweet. And I am no stranger to fairly descriptive love scenes, but some of these would have made Jackie Collins blush. I must admit that by the halfway mark, I was close to giving up.

Then it all changed, apparently, into a completely different book. Gone was the gay equivalent of Mills & Boon, and in its place was the angst-ridden, tense and heartbreaking tale that I had been expecting.

Sordid family secrets emerged from the shadows in a manner faintly reminiscent of "Flowers in the Attic". Shocking displays of bigotry and cruelty made my blood boil. I read the second half in one emotional sitting, and during one particularly tearful episode I had to be physically separated from the book by my beloved before I drowned.

In short, it got better (if the word "better" can be applied to a story that leaves you wet-faced and sobbing). Scenes of revenge, which in some ways were satisfying, also left me reflecting on the waste of life caused by ignorance and prejudice. The ending, though hopeful, left a bittersweet taste that I needed a stiff drink to wash away. Unfortunately, after reading this, I will never again be able to drink Bailey's without feeling a little bit sorrowful.

Certainly effective, but I don't think I'd have the emotional stamina to read it again. Now, by way of therapy, I think I shall go and read something by Bill Bryson...
Nadine (6th July 2004)

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