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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
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Lucky Us (2014)

by Amy Bloom

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3286133,702 (3.38)41
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Someone once said: God gave us memory, so we could have roses in December. Someone did not add, So we could have blizzards in June and food poisoning when there was nothing to eat.
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When she was a young person just arrived in this country, Mrs. Gruber said she would cry from rage and frustration, because she couldn’t kill the people she wanted to kill.
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As my father would have said, if he could talk, One should only take advantage of those who can afford it.

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“People,” he said. “They can’t be underestimated.”
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  Franza | Jan 19, 2015 |
Eva Logan has been abandoned by her mother and left with her father who it turns out has another family. She is connected to her half sister Iris and the two of them float through high school in Ohio with Eva (our narrator and the "smart one") and Iris (the beautiful and talented one). After graduation they make their way to Hollywood where Iris has some modest success in the movies but soon falls out of favor as a result of some nude swimming and an affair with Rose.

They are rescued by their dishonest, money stealing father and are forced to take the long road trip back east along with Francisco, the loyal Hollywood makeup man. There they become household workers in a Brooklyn household along with Reenie the cook and her husband Gus, the handyman and suspected German spy.

The novel has two many characters and twists and turns to recount in a brief review. It also includes an epistolary component where letters are received by Eva from Iris in London and Gus in Germany after the war has ended. Eva, meanwhile, finds herself in Brooklyn tending Danny, a child that Iris has "liberated" from a nearby orphanage as her lover Reenie very much wanted a child.

It is about this point in the novel you begin to wonder if all these characters, places and plots will come together. But you really don't worry too much about this as the twists and turns are engaging and even at time quite compelling. Without giving anything away, the pieces do fall into place as this is a work of a outstanding storyteller. ( )
  Wisconco | Jan 10, 2015 |
I often wonder if the reviews on the jacket are written by people that actually read the book. ( )
  lvmygrdn | Dec 4, 2014 |
What a story and slice of life. I loved the way Bloom used letters and different points of view to give us a glimpse into this family in all its guises. ( )
  ccayne | Nov 15, 2014 |
Told from several points of view, the novel begins with the first person narrative of Eva, a 12 year old whose mother suddenly drops her off at her father's house and leaves forever. Her older half sister Iris becomes a pivotal person in her life, and the two of them run off to Hollywood together. Throughout, the chapters shift from Eva's first person to third person accounts of Iris, then Clara, then Gus, and settings from the early to late 1940's, Brooklyn, and Germany. Heartwarming characters balance the faults of Eva's parents, with the backdrop of the inhumanity of Hollywood and World War II. Some of the motivations seem unclear to me, in particular the enmity Eva comes to feel for Iris, but the ending wraps things up successfully. ( )
  sleahey | Nov 10, 2014 |
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My father's wife died.
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It's good to be smart, it's better to be lucky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Teenage half sisters Eva and Iris are disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take the sisters from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.… (more)

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