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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us (2014)

by Amy Bloom

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4346824,268 (3.38)46
Recently added bymiddlemarchhare, LacyLK, megazena, private library, LynnPattern, avidbirdreader



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This novel reads like the work of a much less experienced novelist. Iris's letter on pp. 14-16 does not read at all like a letter to her sister but as exposition for the reader--a rookie mistake. And then there are sentences like this one: "He loved the girls who, when he cupped their little chins, pointy or round or square as a sugar cube but still charming, their eyes welled up with gratitude" (36). ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After receiving this book for review, I had heard good things about it on NPR. The reviews for Lucky Us are all over the place, so you may just have to read it yourself to decide what you think about it. It's definitely a unique work, and if you like a lot of dynamic and don't mind some explicit storytelling, then you will enjoy it. One reviewer didn't seem too impressed, and especially did not find the connection between the cover art and the pages that lie behind it. Related or not, the absurdity of a lion and a zebra stacked and balanced on a tight rope was appealing to me, but then again, my phone case has elephants flying by hot air balloon.

Lucky Us is a story of two girls, Eva and Iris, who blindly feel their way through life after emerging from their dysfunctional and abandoned family unit. We are then catapulted into a series of quasi-unrelated events that somehow lead these girls from one experience to the next (and the reader isn't entirely sure how they got there).

Iris is an emerging starlet who carries the potential to be America's next sweetheart. In the hype of Hollywood's glamour, she begins experimenting with her sexuality and the reader suddenly finds themselves in the center of several scandalous sexcapades. Needless to say, this is not a family-friendly book. Iris is betrayed by her fellow starlet and femme-fatale lover and is banished from the limelight forever.

Eva, on the other hand, is the conventional one who lives in Iris' shadow, but she is also the storyteller and gives us a glimpse into the quiet-but-fierce persona of her own. She may not be another pretty face, but she definitely has a strong stomach, and so the reader learns to admire her through her narrative.

This book possesses an exceptional level of realism and artistry that will leave you dazed and charmed all at once. Truly, it's a ripple effect of serial events that keeps the reader's attention because of its unpredictability. It's impossible to guess the ending or what is going to come next, so be prepared to adapt quickly and spend moments wounded and thrilled simultaneously. Because of this, you can't help but feel dynamic attachments to the characters. It's almost comedic how bizarre and jarring it all is.

There are times when the plot seems to be in utter chaos, traveling around in strings weaving out and in between, but in the end they enter twine together to become a masterful design. If you enjoy a story that hybrids historical and modern society, and names its chapters after vintage song titles, then you'll love this book. Not to mention the mystery cover that leaves you both intrigued and scratching your head! ( )
  TheIndigoQuill | Nov 7, 2015 |
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom was our last book club selection and discussion. It would seem it was a unanimous thumb's down. I had never heard of this book nor the author and based on the summary that I read on it in order to "vote" for our selection it didn't particularly appeal to me.

This is the story of Eva who being raised alone by her mom while her dad sometimes "visited.". One day her mother decides to drop her off at her dad's house and never looks back. Eva finds out her dad was married to another woman who has since died and she also has a half sister named Iris. Thrown together unexpectedly they decide to make the best of their situation. Iris is successful in many local talent shows and has been saving her prize money in order to go to Hollywood. When Eva catches her dad rifling through Iris' room searching for the money Iris decides it's time to leave home now. Eva tags along and their adventure begins. They meet many noteworthy characters that manipulate their journey.

I had difficulty connecting with any of these individuals except perhaps Eva who I think tried her best considering the hand she was dealt. There was too much chaos and dysfunction within the story for me to enjoy it. I grow weary of the characters using each other for gain, find it distasteful and as a result often wind up not liking the book. Unfortunately this was one of those times. I would not recommend this one.

How I acquired this book: Half.com website
Shelf Life: Less than 2 months ( )
  missjomarch | Jul 2, 2015 |
There's not A TON of stuff going on here, but it's a very nicely written novel about an unusual family (that continues to add family members in unconventional ways) and their relationships with others. Sometimes I find it frustrating to read about people who seem to be drifting through their own lives, but in this case, I thought it was a good choice for telling this particular story. A young girl and her glamorous older sister run away to Hollywood, flee after a scandal, end up in Brooklyn, and then WWII happens. Four stars is a bit of a reach, but it was close. ( )
  delphica | Jun 10, 2015 |
I wanted to like this novel, but there was just too much weirdness in the characters. They seemed more like comic book characters than real people. Odd things happened to them, they responded in strange ways...it could have been spellbinding or it could have been funny. But it wasn't. I only rated it as high as I did because I really like the ending, I'm just sorry it wasn't preceded by more I could like. ( )
  TerriBooks | May 14, 2015 |
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For my sister, Ellen.
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My father's wife died.
It's good to be smart, it's better to be lucky.
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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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