Iris is an aspiring actress, so when Mick, a well-known visiting Aussie director, takes an interest in her, she's flattered. He's fourteen years older, attractive, smart, charming and sexy, in other words, nothing like her hapless ex-boyfriend, Tommy. But when Iris and Mick start a secret relationship, she soon witnesses Mick's darker side, and his temper frightens her. Before long, she becomes the target of his rage, but she makes endless excuses for him. Isolated and often in pain, Iris struggles to continue going to school, where she is preparing for her role as Ophelia. When her family and friends begin to realize that something is terribly wrong, Iris defends her man, but she also takes the first tentative steps toward self-preservation.
Seventeen-year-old Iris Wagner loves pretending to be someone else on stage. When a 31-year-old theater director from Australia visits her Toronto high school and expresses an interest in her acting talents and in Iris herself she is swept into an intense sexual relationship. Initially, Mick is romantic and nurturing, even encouraging her to reconnect with her estranged father. But Polak (Miracleville) doesn t conceal his controling tendencies for long. Iris goes from swooning over her older boyfriend to desperately rationalizing his erratic behavior: Mick gets upset because he cares so much too much, maybe. I could never be with someone who wasn t passionate and creative or who didn t care too much. Even if that someone never lost his temper or raised his voice or put his fist through a wall. Though the patterns of Mick s psychological and physical abuse of Iris are formulaic, Polak gives him enough sympathetic qualities to render Iris s submissiveness believable. Readers will acknowledge Mick s volatility long before Iris s denial lifts, while recognizing how the desire to love and be loved can so easily turn self-defeating. Ages 12 up.