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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us (2014)

by Amy Bloom

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ucky Us by Amy Bloom: Lucky us to have this book surprising novel -- a series of short chapters in multiple points of view (something I love -- see Before My Eyes and LIE) -- and essentially about what makes us a family.

The story centers on Eva and Iris, half sisters. But no one is what they seem at first. For example, their father presumably a WASP, a literature professor, and a dead-beat is anything but a WASP, a professor, or a truly dead-beat father. All the characters re-make themselves over and over.

Set in the 1940s to the 1950s and traveling from small town Ohio to Hollywood to Great Neck, Long Island, college town, the story unfolds in sometimes improbable ways, but I was sold on these characters.

By the end, I was cheering Eva and Iris and all of them on.
And, the writing is superb. Like I said: Lucky us. ( )
  cabockwrites | Sep 10, 2014 |
Finished in two days (only because I was interrupted on Day 1!). Wonderful tale of two sisters and the family they acquire and lose along a serpentine route from poor to rich to poor to happy. Superb characters, about many of whom the reader truly cares. Wonderful main character, Eva Acton, who ages from about 8 to young adulthood. ( )
  jaaron | Sep 5, 2014 |
Read from August 21 to 24, 2014 — I own a copy

Great story and awesome coverart!! I absolutely loved the convoluted tale of sisters, Eva and Iris, that begins in the late 1930's. I enjoyed Bloom's writing style and found it clever and fresh. This is a story filled with contradiction. The sisters collect people like souvenirs and they manage to form a happy mishmash family despite their habitual cons, lies, and deceit. The characters were likable but severely flawed. I hated them one minute and loved them the next. Overall, this is a winner for me.

Thanks to Goodreads and Random House for this wonderful giveaway.
  MaryEvelynLS | Aug 24, 2014 |
www.shelfnotes.com Review

Dear Reader,

Before you read my review, check out the insightful one Arianna posted a few weeks back. I don't have as many great ideas brewing in my head for this review, not sure why since I really liked the book. I do want to mention that I ADORE the cover, it speaks to the characters of the book so well and it looks kinda quirky and fun while the underlying message isn't that at all. Lucky Us is a story that weaves between the lives of two half sisters. Iris comes from a wealthier mother who rears her up to have absolute self confidence and over grandiose ideas on where her life should lead. Eva was the daughter left behind with her destitute mother, she gets "returned" to her father who is now shacking up with the mother of Iris. Neither girl loves their family and the pair share a strange bond, mostly strung together by Iris who takes the girl in as her confident for her big life plans. Eva doesn't seem to mind being the drag along and willingly follows Iris into disaster after disaster.

Thinking back on this book, I keep playing the "Oh, the places you will go" phrase, over and over in my mind. I think I loved the bouncing Iris so much because she brought us into these areas of the world I would never have experienced myself. I love reading from the perspective of someone SO different from the way I am. Even though she is abundantly indulgent and full of herself, she still has this warm heart that doesn't forget the little people in her life. The relationship between the two of them is unusual but also slightly comforting in a dysfunctional way. Eva gets to see Hollywood and attend fancy shindigs due to her sisters fame. I have to say, I have a sweet spot for old fashioned Hollywood, there is something romantic and tragic there that keeps me wanting more. We also get thrown out of that world and into NYC, not the glamour of the bright lights but the gritty and honest streets of Brooklyn. As the environment changes, so do the characters and events. Gone is the glitz and glam and to replace it, we have hardship and struggle which is such a stark contrast to the Hollywood chapters. I love that Amy Bloom brings us from here to there with a flick of her wrist (or what I imagine her writing process would look like).

I have a feeling this book is going to be welcomed with wide arms, maybe even a little jazz hand action?! Amy Bloom has this way of captivating the reader and I think she has accomplished this yet again, I'm pretty sure all her fans will be gobbling this up without disappointment. I like Amy Bloom, I think she is a solid writer with great stories to tell but I don't see a huge difference between her and many of the other literary writers I read every year and like. I guess I'm not a "Bloom" fan girl, but will that stop me from reading her books? No way! Don't get me wrong, I respect her writing and books very much and I KNOW she is totally worth the read. Be prepared for another successful developed story that has "I want to meet them" characters. You really can't go wrong with Amy Bloom, I can pretty much promise you won't "hate" it but I'm hoping you enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy Reading,
AmberBug ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have had this one on my shelf for awhile so I'm really glad to be able to get to it. A story set in the World War II era, Iris and Eva are half-sisters who embark on a journey that doesn't quite live up their dreams, but they make it work. It's hard to write a synopsis without giving away spoilers so I'll leave it at that. I loved the writing of this. By swapping between Eva's narrative and letters written to her from the people around her, the story felt more evenly told since you get more points of view. I have read other reviews of the 'likeability' of Iris and Eva. This tends mostly to come up when there are female protagonist and people act like the author wants you to always be friends or lovers with them. I never once worried if I liked the characters. I just kept wondering what shenanigans they would partake in(I do however, like a good shenanigan). So Bloom did her job for me. I was engaged. I wanted to see what would happen next. I was interested in these people's relationships. How did they interact with one another? How did they resolve the decisions they made to themselves? Lucky Us isn't a perfect book. I felt a little off with the pacing, but that could have been me. However, it's very well written with lovely language and interesting characters.

*I received this ARC from Library Thing as a part of their Early Reviewers program.
  hedonistchild | Aug 17, 2014 |
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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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(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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