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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us (2014)

by Amy Bloom

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5817917,011 (3.38)56
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Don't get comfortable. That's all. ( )
  emma_mc | Apr 7, 2017 |
I had to force myself to finish it. The reviews sounded great. No matter how many topics she threw in (abandoned children, WWII, kidnapping, tarot, and on and on) to try to make this book seem interesting, it bombed. The plot never was developed and I never felt invested in any of the characters. Save your time. ( )
  skyeval | Aug 15, 2016 |
The story of 2 half sisters. And their dad, their moms, their faux dad the gay makeup artist, his sisters, Reenie the cook and her husband Gus (and his aliases), the Torellis, Danny, and their dad's jazz singer "friend", and her future husband, and Danny's best friend Ruthie.

I did not enjoy this book as much as Away or Where the God of Love Hangs Out. The many stories in here just got a little too far-fetched for me. A light-skinned black jazz singer hooking up with old English professor dad--who is actually a reformed Jewish gangster who knew her and her brother back in Chicago? A German married to an Italian is reported to be a spy, and sent to a camp, where he assumes another man's identity and family, and is repatriated to Germany (where he has never been, and he does not speak German), survives the bombing in Pfortzheim, assumes a Jewish identity, and it gets crazier.

As usual though, Bloom does a great job at giving her characters lives before and after the story itself takes place. But what happens to Ruthie? ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
I think I'll stick with my first assessment: Fascinatingly Weird. Or the Strange Plot Twist Road to the Rainbow at the End of the Road to Perdition.

Everytime you think you have the story figured out, you get slammed with a Plot Twist from out of nowhere. Any less of a writer couldn't have dished it up and served it so well. Who won't like it? Practical readers without fortitude or patience, or maybe just with much bettet sense than me, or maybe with less of a sense of humor. I'm not even really sure why I liked it, other than that I love the ability to look (through great writing) at a wide variant of American life in the forties. I love how the tone is so light and matter of fact despite all the heavy subjects. And I truly deeply wanted things to work out for little Evie in the end. She is special and steadfast in her own way, so the only comparison I have is that she gives us a look at life and love and death in the 40s via a sort of Forrestina Gump voice who does Strange Childhood, Peas and Carrots Half Sister, Hollywood, and Jersey, with Jazz, Jewish, and Germanic undertones.

Warning: Probably not for the Super Southern Conservative? But hey, if you read Fifty Shades- and based on sales numbers I think everyone in the world did- then I don't really see the difference. Just take it with a grain of salt. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
September Quarterly Riot Read Monthly Book Club Selection, received my copy on September 18.

Book Blurb - "Lucky Us is spellbinding, the story bizarre and magical. Bloom weaves present-day issues into a World War II-era setting, and the results are on of the most interesting novels I've ever read. And by far the most unique WWII novel I've read since Atonement." In Lucky Us, a young girl, Eva, is left to live with her father and older half-sister. Her father turns out to be kind of a cad, but her sister, Iris is beautiful and talented, and eventually the two ditch their dad, steal a car, and head out to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood.

Lucky Us is a story of the cost of what it means to be yourself, and the depths we'll go to in order to get the things we want. And what a tricky mess familial bonds can be.

Check out www.riotread.com/luckyus for posts and podcasts about the book.

I started by thinking that I would rate this a three star because I initially felt the story was discombobulated, but then the story would not leave my thoughts. I looked over and reread passages I had tabbed and felt that when a story sticks with you and makes you think it is worthy of a much higher rating and the need to share and recommend the book.

Some of the best lines I enjoyed from the book:

pg 7 - Iris opened the screen door and looked at me the way a cat looks at a dog.
pg 97 - Memory seems as faulty, as misunderstood and misguided, as every other thought or spasm that passes through us.
pg 113 - It's good to be smart, it's better to be lucky.
pg 165 - We were like the soldiers in Stalingrad, moving forward only because backward wasn't possible.

There are plenty of wonderful, book, movie and people references sprinkled throughout the book. The characters are very believable, the father has children with two different women, one he has married the other a mistress. After the death of his wife, the other women comes to his home with their daughter and after an argument leaves the girl on his porch never to be seen again. Iris the daughter from his married wife, is less than thrilled with Eva, the interloper, from his mistress. Soon they become friends and work together to runaway from home to make it big in Hollywood. Although all that glitters is not gold and Iris who was making her way into the Hollywood scene found herself turned to Kryptonite and no studio would touch her. Their dad returns and with the help of a friend they head to New York for a new start. In the midst of all this Iris makes her way to Broadway and WWII breaks out and Eva is left to take care of her father and her sisters adopted son. The three of them with the help of a friend must once again with the help of a friend must make a new start.

What works and stays with you in the story is the authors play on words and the way she weaves the story together.

( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
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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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