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Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik
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Oh My Stars

by Lorna Landvik

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
a good story. i just got all the men mixed up. ( )
  mahallett | Dec 9, 2013 |
Enjoyable book, enjoyed the editorials that began each chapter. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
What a lovely surprise. I thought Lorna Landvik wrote thin romances, but this story is far from thin. The great depression, the beginnings of rock and roll music, a look at race relations in the twentieth century, sewing skills, all get mixed into this story about family and love and growth. It's absolutely charming. ( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 29, 2013 |
Another Landvik gem. I love her quirky characters and her northern settings. The people ring true because they are like the people that we know...

Here is a story of a woman who has had all the hardship life has to offer before she is 16 - her mother ran off, her father abused her and neglected her, she was dreadfully poor and only had a tree to love. Then life started to improve - she got a factory job in a thread factory, made friends and began to see life differently -but on her 16th birthday her life changed...she lost an arm in a accident, her ears filled with the buzzing of bees and there didn't seem to be a reason to continue on...

So, Violet boards a bus to San Francisco to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then life starts to throw her a rope...there is a bus crash and she is rescued by two unusual musicians - Kjel (prounced Shell) the most amazing looking blond North Dakota has to offer and Austin the blackest of all black men with the largest vocabulary of smooth and high talk. That crash and rescue change the course of Violet's life.

Austin and Kjel are musicians and they invite Violet to join them on a whim. They begin an amazing band called the "Pearltones." They start a tour with Austin's brother Dallas through the small towns changing their lives and the lives of those who hear them play through a very memorable summer.

In typical Landvik fashion nothing seems to go like they planned. But, life continues. Also in Landvik fashion, this book covers Violet's life from childhood through her old age with many stops and starts and curves and twists in between. It is filled with music and beauty and characters that I wish I could meet!

The title is from Kjel - each morning he greets the world with "oh my stars!" a prayer and a song to the beauty of the heavens and world that was created around him!

I loved this! ( )
  kebets | Dec 31, 2012 |
So, here's Oh My Stars, the story of a young girl named Violet growing up during the Great Depression. She was never a pretty girl to start with, and when she loses her arm in a factory accident (this is not a spoiler, it happens on pretty much the first page of the book), she can no longer bear the torment of schoolmates and family alike who malign her missing arm, her horsey face, her somewhat freakish height. Determined that life is no longer worth living considering that nobody loves her, not even her no-good father, she gets on a bus and sets off for California where she has decided to pitch herself off the Golden Gate Bridge. Before that can happen, the bus wrecks in a nowhere sort of town in North Dakota, and the path of Violet's life changes forever. Before she knows it she's managing a the hottest new band that's breaking down barriers to racial integration all over the states and finding love in a place she never would have expected.

If I were going to sit here and type you up an "objective" review of Oh My Stars you would probably wonder why I even passed the 50 page mark without jettisoning it in favor of more quality reading. It would be no great challenge to snarkily tear it page from page telling you all about how Landvik relies on a healthy dose of stereotype, depends on you to suspend a great deal of your disbelief, and exaggerates her characters to caricature-like proportions at times. I could point out that the things that happen to Violet are always either so very bad or so very good that it seems totally improbable. I could ponder the lack of a realism in that a band composed of both white and black members could play clubs in the Deep(ish) South in the 30s and somehow play such good music that nobody got killed. You could then comment that "gosh, this book sounds rotten. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole," and we could close the door on the whole matter.

There's just one thing, though. I really liked it. Despite its many flaws, if I had to pick my best book of the year so far, it's likely this one would take the cake ahead of several books that in writing and style are technically much better. But, Oh My Stars, it just has a certain je ne sais quoi that I quickly embraced. Maybe it's Landvik's conversational writing style that flows without interruption and makes the book hard to put down. Maybe it's the foreshadow-y way she uses Violet's first person voice looking back on events interchangeably with a third person that gives the bigger picture as events unfold. Maybe it's the characters who, when not wandering about in caricature-ville, are original, compelling and lovable. I loved Kjel's optimism and his willingness to love even the most unlovable. It was refreshing to read about a guy who was good but not perfect. I loved Austin whose expansive vocabulary is the exact opposite of what people would expect from a black man in the 30s. I even loved Austin's prickly brother Dallas, who could be funny as often as he could be cruel. Watching Violet blossom from the closed up, hopeless, angry person she started out as into the strong, funny girl who can negotiate contracts with club owners is also a pleasure. The unlikely foursome's idyllic summer together seemed as enchanting to me as if I was there myself, and I was swallowed up by the lives of three passionate musicians on the road making a name for themselves. I was so taken by Oh My Stars that I laughed and I cried, and I was sad that it was over even if my objective mind could recognize flaws popping up all over the place. ( )
  yourotherleft | Mar 31, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345468368, Paperback)

I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food.

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.

Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet’s expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.

Oh My Stars is Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you’ll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery–as Violet, who’s always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you’ll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates ('Hey, Olive Oyl, where's Popeye?'), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she's hired by the town's sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell. Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet's expense. This time, though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together."--from publisher's description… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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