Freaky Green Eyes

( 35 )

Overview

Later, I would think of it as crossing over. From a known territory into an unknown. From a place where people know you to a place where people only think they know you. It began with me a year ago this past July. A few weeks after my fourteenth birthday. When Freaky Green Eyes came into my heart. When her parents separate, Franky Pierson has no trouble deciding whose side she's on. After all, her mother is the one who chose to leave. And when her mother is suddenly reported missing, Franky believes she's simply ...
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Overview

Later, I would think of it as crossing over. From a known territory into an unknown. From a place where people know you to a place where people only think they know you. It began with me a year ago this past July. A few weeks after my fourteenth birthday. When Freaky Green Eyes came into my heart. When her parents separate, Franky Pierson has no trouble deciding whose side she's on. After all, her mother is the one who chose to leave. And when her mother is suddenly reported missing, Franky believes she's simply pulled a disappearing act and deserted their family for good. But a part of Franky, a part she calls Freaky Green Eyes, knows that something is wrong. And it's up to Freaky to open Franky's eyes to the truth.

Fifteen-year-old Frankie relates the events of the year leading up to her mother's mysterious disappearance and her own struggle to discover and accept the truth about her parents' relationship.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In our 2003 Best Books citation, PW wrote, "The daughter of a charismatic football star-turned-sportscaster narrates this captivating novel, which bears some resemblance to the O.J. Simpson story. Oates builds the mounting tension masterfully." Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2003: This thriller reminds the reader of the infamous O.J. Simpson case, in that it is about the family of a highly successful sports commentator and the murder of his wife, the narrator's mother. Franky (Francesca) adores her father and blames her mother for making him mad. She herself successfully fights off a violent encounter with an older teenager who tries to rape her, who accuses her of having "freaky green eyes" when she gets angry. So Franky doesn't know why her mother can't defend herself better. Her mother is trying her best to establish a life away from the controlling obsessions of her husband, Franky's father. She gets a cottage in a harbor community and pursues her art, telling her children she loves them and their father, but needs to have her own space. Franky and her younger sister see this as desertion and have very little understanding of the true situation. But when their mother disappears altogether, Franky questions her own assumptions about the family situation, and she opens her eyes to the possibility that her father is a murderer. Oates creates a suspenseful story about a strong, intelligent young woman. The high stakes involved in facing the truth are grippingly realistic—in fact, Franky's older brother is never able to accept his father's guilt and interprets Franky's cooperation with the police as betrayal. This will be a popular selection in the YA collection. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, HarperTempest, 341p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
VOYA
Fourteen-year-old Francesca "Franky" Pierson, daughter of a former football star and famous broadcaster, cannot understand her mother's reluctance to be a part of her father's success. When her parents separate, she shuts her mother out of her life and closes her eyes to the signs that her popular father is controlling and abusive. Earlier that summer, however, Franky had discovered an inner strength and refers to that part of herself as "Freaky Green Eyes." As the summer continues, Freaky Green Eyes allows her to accept the truth about her parents' relationship and finally to testify against her father when she realizes that he has murdered her mother. "I was Freaky Green Eyes, and knew what I wanted and wasn't afraid." For readers old enough to remember the O. J. Simpson trial, there are obvious parallels, including Franky's quick-tempered, football star father and the murder of her mother and a friend. Oates's use of an adolescent narrator who comes of age while learning the truth about her family and helping to solve her mother's murder, however, adds an original dimension to this story. For younger readers without the trial as a frame of reference, the novel stands on its own as a realistic treatment of domestic abuse. Given the book's strong female protagonist, it should have broad appeal with girls, particularly in junior high school. It is appropriate for all libraries. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, HarperCollins, 352p,
— Christine Sanderson
Kirkus Reviews
Freaky Green Eyes, born during a drunken assault at a teen party, becomes one teen’s inner voice of resistance as her family crumbles around her. Franky’s father is Reid Pierson, former star football player and current star sportscaster; all her life, he has been the charismatic sun around which his family revolves. To make him angry is to risk losing his approval and his love, and the punishments he metes out are harsh, but just. As Franky keenly observes, "It’s hard to change how you feel. How you think is a lot easier." So warped is Franky’s perception, that when her mother, an artist desperate to assert a life outside of the family orbit, moves out, her loyalties remain with her father--until her mother disappears entirely, and Freaky Green Eyes gives her the strength to confront her life honestly. Oates crafts an unflinching look at Franky’s struggle to define herself against a backdrop of family violence, turning what could have been rendered as a sensationalistic "ripped-from-the-headlines" melodrama into a quietly gripping, beautifully written, impeccably paced psychological thriller. (Fiction. YA)
Boston Herald
“Among this year’s most compelling fiction”
BookPage
“Moves along at the breathless pace”
ALA Booklist
“A fast-paced, first-person thriller”
Chicago Tribune
“Observant family history and a developing mystery.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064473484
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 647,976
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Table of Contents

I. Crossing Over 1
II. Missing 193
III. In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico: December 319
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Gotta Love J.C.O.

    Oates outdid herself this time. This books is fast and furious and does not stop until the very last page. The story starts with a party on the beach, and Francesca "Franky" Pierson almost getting raped by a college guy. Then it starts describing her homelife. It tells the point of view of someone being abused...something is off in her life and you can just tell. I was 100 pages into the book and it took me only an hour or two to get there. This book is unputdownable. Clear off a couple of hours to read this because you wont want to do anything else. This book is not for everyone, though. It is very dark, and sinister. It is about abuse...the worst possible kind.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Unexpected but good

    I would say that this book took me by surprise. It was so realist to the point where you wish you were there to yell at the characters and scream, "what are you thinking" or "What are you doing!" Freaky Green Eyes depicts the life of Franky, the main character. This is a story about the hardest part of her life. I would like to say that she is "waking up to reality." I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It is a little taste of how things could be much worse and what some people have to live threw every day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    Thrilling, Though Only Towards The End

    There were many positive and negative aspects of this novel.The first positive aspect was that the plot was a very interesting one. This is because how many books are there when a girl testifies against her own father? The girl, Francesca is another positive aspect of the story. This is because her bravery makes her stand out from many other characters in many other books. A final positive aspect of this novel is that it is a very emotional tale, one that you can sympithize with. Sadly though, as many positive aspects as there are, there are also negative ones as well. The first negative thing about the novel is that the father has mental problems. This then makes the story have a rather grim tone. Second, the brother of the heroine is very devoted to the father, and his mother, who died when she was 26. When Francesca proves her, and his father to be guilty of killing his second wife, the brothers step-mother, Francesca's brother calls her a traitor and a lier. Finally, though the plot was interesting, it did not get to be until the late middle to the end of the novel. As one can see,the novel Freaky Green Eyes has both positive and negative qualities that distinguish this book from all others.
    The writing style of the author is as unique as the author herself, Joyce Carol Oates. First, she often uses short sentences. These are sometimes hard to understand because they are almost sentence fragments. Also, in Freaky Green Eyes, she writes in first person. This allows her to fully communicate Francesca's feelings on matters. Finally, she occasionally uses what some may call "big" words such as "volative" and "indignation". This allows her to use the most specific reasons for her previous actions.
    Although this book has an interesting plot and perspective on life, I would not recommend it to any person who dislikes violence or brutality. This is in part because Freaky Green Eyes is a very grim book, with people being murdered. Also, it is a very sad book, as a young girl makes her struggles through her family not only breaking apart, but dying and being jailed for crimes. Thirdly, in this book nothing interesting happens until the end of the middle, making for a boring read. Similar novels include Catalyst, If I Stay, and Rats Saw God. Several novels that I would wholeheartedly recommend are Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet, as it is a fascinating mystery which I have highly enjoyed, The Mysterious Benedict Society, an adventure about four exeptionally intelligent kids, and Star Trek: Ishmael, a curious, but moving space time travel adventure and one of my favorite books in the world. All in all, although I would not recommend Freaky Green Eyes, I would still recommend the aforesaid books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    Must read for young readers and adults!

    Joyce Carol Oates is an amazing writer. This is an eye opening story. I don't think most adults stop to think what the child is thinking or may be feeling when a diificult situation arises like divorce. Those we love may actually be doing more harm than good and not realize it. No child ever waits to see the bad in a parent no matter what the evidence tells tham. Sometimes it is a journey they must take on their own to see the truth. All you can to is stand aside and support them from the sidelines.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Mark Frye, author and reviewer for TeensReadToo.com

    Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates delivers yet again with FREAKY GREEN EYES. With a plot that gradually unfolds to expose a family's destructive private life, this book covers a topic touched upon by many but seldom handled so artfully. <BR/><BR/>As in her previous novels, such as WE WERE THE MULVANEYS, Oates unveils a family that is picture-perfect to the world at large but dysfunctional and horrific behind closed doors. <BR/><BR/>The narrator -- Franky -- unveils the true nature of her father slowly, shocking the reader by the level of her own denial, but is blunt with her criticism towards her mother, whom she views as weak and unloving for moving away. The reader will want to love Reid, the broadcaster and former football star, as the world does, but something is not "right" about how ordered he keeps his family. When their mother leaves, Franky and her younger sister Samantha have no buffer in their lives and begin to see their dad's true nature. <BR/><BR/>The strength of FREAKY GREEN EYES is Oates' narrator and manner of narration. Descriptions are scant and to the point, dialogue is crisp and revealing, and her use of foreknowledge keeps the reader feeling "edgy" until the climax. The reader sees Franky's world through the flawed understanding of a co-dependent child in an abusive home. Children in this type of environment react to the truth as they see it, not as it necessarily really is, and often quite illogically. In this regard, Joyce's "voice" for Franky is quite realistic. A girl her age would not be able to handle things any better than she does in this novel. <BR/><BR/>But Franky's strengths are as realistic as her shortcomings. Her growth as a character begins in the first chapter and continues to the story's conclusion. "Freaky Green Eyes" is the willful, strong side of her personality, first unveiled while fending off a rapist, a side she relies heavily upon as she begins to doubt her father's version of events regarding her mother's eventual disappearance. The realism of Franky's flaws and strengths gives her story strong appeal. <BR/><BR/>This is a masterful young adult novel about the sensitive subject of domestic violence. Readers will empathize with children growing up in such an environment after reading it. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    Dissapointment.

    The summary of the books plot looked very intruiging, but the book in fact turned out to be horrible for a number of reasons. The first reason being that the story didnt make sense. I would have to re-read pages numerous times to even get a slight idea of the point the author was trying to get across. Also, the characters were dull and unrealistic. Lastly, the book didnt connect, meaning that one minute shes at her house, the next shes at a friends with no descritpion of getting there, causing the reader get bored with it. I would NOT reccomend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    Addictive the first go, but then you realize it's not that great.

    I really have mixed feeling with this book. I mean, once I started reading, I couldn¿t stop. But, I suffer from a strange disease that causes me to lose interest in a book after I¿ve read it. One of the reasons is that the main character really didn¿t stand out. Her way of talking was so boring, it was like having my mind rubbed again a cheese grater. Also, the books seemed to change genres too often. First, it seemed like a regular teenage girl book. Then, that quickly switched to slice-of-life. Then¿murder mystery? What? Yet, the book was a great look on how the human mind works. Franky starts off as a girl completely oblivious to her surroundings. But, after a chain of events, she has to make some tough decisions-some right and some wrong-and matures because of this. Her mind becomes influenced by her father, and she eventually starts to lose distrust in everyone around her. But, once she reads her mother¿s diary, she¿s brought to realization and becomes the ideal kind of young adult. That¿d be powerful, strong, and not afraid to admit the truth, for those of you who don¿t really understand that concept. So, although I strongly don¿t recommend it as a re-read, it¿s pretty addictive during the first time. So, go ahead, read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    Taylor D's Review

    Freaky Green Eyes was definitely an interesting book. It had a lot of great detail to make the reader really enjoy what they were reading. The novel is basically about a girl who has a lot of struggles in her life. One of the struggles she goes through is her parents become separated and her mother starts acting very strange. I think that a lot of teenage girls would really enjoy this novel just because they really can relate to the main character. In order for someone to really enjoy a book they should be able to really get into it and I think every teenager who read this would really be able to. Teenage boys might not like this book as much as teenage girls, but boys you can always try something new such as Freaky Green Eyes. I will be honest though some parts of the book really did feel like they were dragged on and if you get to a certain part of the book that you feel is that way just keep reading because it only gets better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2008

    Freaky green eyes.

    This book is really good, it had an unpredictable ending and i loved reading every page of it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates delivers yet again with FREAKY GREEN EYES. With a plot that gradually unfolds to expose a family's destructive private life, this book covers a topic touched upon by many but seldom handled so artfully. As in her previous novels, such as WE WERE THE MULVANEYS, Oates unveils a family that is picture-perfect to the world at large but dysfunctional and horrific behind closed doors. The narrator -- Franky -- unveils the true nature of her father slowly, shocking the reader by the level of her own denial, but is blunt with her criticism towards her mother, whom she views as weak and unloving for moving away. The reader will want to love Reid, the broadcaster and former football star, as the world does, but something is not ¿right¿ about how ordered he keeps his family. When their mother leaves, Franky and her younger sister Samantha have no buffer in their lives and begin to see their dad's true nature. The strength of FREAKY GREEN EYES is Oates' narrator and manner of narration. Descriptions are scant and to the point, dialogue is crisp and revealing, and her use of foreknowledge keeps the reader feeling ¿edgy¿ until the climax. The reader sees Franky's world through the flawed understanding of a co-dependent child in an abusive home. Children in this type of environment react to the truth as they see it, not as it necessarily really is, and often quite illogically. In this regard, Joyce's ¿voice¿ for Franky is quite realistic. A girl her age would not be able to handle things any better than she does in this novel. But Franky's strengths are as realistic as her shortcomings. Her growth as a character begins in the first chapter and continues to the story's conclusion. ¿Freaky Green Eyes¿ is the willful, strong side of her personality, first unveiled while fending off a rapist, a side she relies heavily upon as she begins to doubt her father's version of events regarding her mother's eventual disappearance. The realism of Franky's flaws and strengths gives her story strong appeal. This is a masterful young adult novel about the sensitive subject of domestic violence. Readers will empathize with children growing up in such an environment after reading it. Highly recommended. Five stars. **Reviewed by: Mark Frye, author and reviewer

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2007

    Genius. Period.

    This book was outstanding. The plot,style of writing, conflict, main characters, supporting characters, antagonist---all of it blended together like poetry. I connected so much to this book! It was so deep and captivating, I couldn't put it down! It brought literature to a whole new level for me. Read it---you'll love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Great book for young adults

    This was a perfect book for my ninth grade students to read as a choice for a novel project. I selected this as my first book to read with them and couldn't put it down--it's a real page turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Awesome book!!

    Freaky Green Eyes is a must read for teenagers. I don¿t think many could relate to the story, but it makes you realize how much your family means to you and what it would feel like if they were taken away. The setting of the story is in Washington. Franky is the main character and she has a wonderful personality that is fun to follow. She has a voice inside of her, Freaky, who helps her get through hard times. In the end, Freaky helps Franky do the right thing and escape the wrath of her father. Franky¿s father, Reid Pierson is a famous sports caster and a former football star. Franky and her younger sister Samantha adore the famous father and love to see him on television, but when he is at home, it¿s a whole other ballgame. Their mother, Krista begins to feel like she doesn¿t get enough respect from him. Freaky can sense the tension in the house and decides to investigate and see if she can do something about it. Her mother is an artist and begins to go to her cabin in the woods to paint, and draw, and escape from reality. Franky begins to investigate why her parents are acting different and why her mother goes away more and more. Franky is discovering that her mother beginning to wear long sleeved shirts and scarves in the warm summer weather. Almost like she is hiding something¿ Freaky Green Eyes is a five star book. It is a story that makes you wants to keep reading. You can learn a valuable lesson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    Good

    This book was good but it was really long

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2006

    AMAZING!! AMAZING!! AMAZING!!!

    I loved this book. Some people think that it is scary, but I just find it shocking and really well written. It was very suspensful, and always interersting. I was never able to put the book down. I highly reccomend this book for young adults 12 and up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2006

    Good book, but boring at times

    The book was very good overall, but it had some boring parts. It seemed that the book went on forever, but towards the end it got very good and I didn't want to put it down. I had this love hate relationship with her dad at the end of the book because I hated what he said to her, but I thought that it was brilliant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    I didn't like it

    This book was so boring. I bought it because it gave you the idea that she had something paranormal going on, but it didn't. I was very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006

    An intriguing book

    This book is wonderful. It really showed us an everyday girl who was going through everyday family problems. Her life is torn apart by the haunting of her mother's dissappearance and her parent's seperation. It leads to a conclusion after she comes to find the cause of her mother's death and dissapearance and helps her understand better the reason for her parent's seperation. I recommended this for young adults ages 12 and up. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2005

    AWESOMEEE

    I had never read one of her books before but my English teacher recommended this book so I decided to try it. I absolutely loved it! The writer was so good at the little things and she related so well to some of the troubles that teens go through today. Highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Loved It!

    I loved this book. It was written very well. Some people say it's scary, but I disagree. It is sad, though. I give this book 5 stars. (not recommended for children under 12 years of age)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews

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