I received this book via Netgalley, Publishers. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2014-07-29
Length: 272 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley, Publishers
“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”
So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called “a literary triumph” (The New York Times). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war.
Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom is the story of two sisters Eva and Iris and the events that led to them loving then hating then loving each other again. Set during the 1930s and 1940s, Eva tells the story as she is reflecting back on her life with her sister. It begins when Eva is ten and her father’s wife has died. Her mother leaves her on his doorstep and suddenly she has a big sister and her dad every day. Iris wants to be an actress and Eva just wants to belong.
Where do I start? I’m going to be completely honest with you, I did not finish this book. I couldn’t. I tried, reaching 47% on my Kindle, and I even skimmed to the end and still couldn’t bring myself to read it to its completion. The characters just didn’t hold my attention and I felt no love for them.
Eva is the younger of the sisters and tells the story from her point of view. It is told as if she is reflecting back on her life and the mistakes she made. But she is really telling the story of her sister Iris and her dreams of becoming an actress, then her struggles as a lesbian. Honestly you feel as though Eva is looking back and seeing the mistakes her sister made, and not judging but regretting her own decisions to follow Iris. Iris is the older of the two and from what I gathered, very selfish and vain. She wants what she wants and she has to have it, regardless of who she hurts in the process.
The characters though didn’t bother me as much as the plot itself. It follows Iris and Eva to Hollywood where Iris decides – after an orgy mind you – that she is in love with another actress. This actress betrays her and leaks to the studio that Iris is not the sort of woman you want on set. So Iris is blacklisted. So begins the slippery slope of depression for Iris and a cross-country travel dragging her baby sister to New York. This book is billed as a historical fiction, and while it has historical elements (mentioning the depression, the beginnings of WWII, etc.) it doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot of the story. The story is really more of a contemporary literature, with a little romance and focus on social issues.
Overall, the writing was good and humorous. Eva’s personality shines through as she tells the story of her childhood, she has a very dry humor. But this book just wasn’t for me. As I said, the plot was lacking and the characters didn’t keep my interest. I definitely recommend that this book be read by mature audiences only for its sexual content. If you enjoy historical fiction, contemporary literature than I think you may enjoy this book. Just because I didn’t doesn’t mean that you won’t 😉